Week focuses on college student mental health
by Kate Snyder / staff writer
Brian Hall / Staff
Starting last Thursday, "The Journey
of Wellness" interactive lecture series explores the uses and
benefits of complementary and alternative medicine. It will
run for five weeks on Thursdays from 7 to 9 p.m. During last
Thursday's session, pychiatrist Michael Marcum indtroduced the
This week, health science students will host "A New You in 2002"
for Mental Health Awareness Week at JMU. Students organized events
to demonstrate to others the importance and effects of mental health
among college students.
Associate Professor of Health Sciences Thomas Syre's HTH 458
class, Health Programming, Planning and Evaluation, is running the
week of events.
According to class member, junior Jaclyn Marsano, the purpose is
to create a campus-wide event that will help students in the class
plan and evaluate a health promotion program.
Within the class, junior Eric Dalton acts as CEO and junior
Stacey Armstrong is assistant CEO.
The class is broken up into four committees, including fund
raising, headed by junior Devon Dohony, marketing, headed by
Marsano, research and evaluation, headed by sophomore Jackson
Baynard, and implementation and activities, headed by senior Lauren
"With the participation of each of these groups, we have planned
events to make people aware of mental illnesses and to provide
resources for help that are available on campus," Marsano
The activities are planned for every day of the week, which run
from today through Thursday. Today, students can make stress balls
on the commons from 11 a.m to 3 p.m.
Tomorrow, "Speak Out on Mental Health" will take place in Health
and Human Services 1301 at 7 p.m. Two students will speak about
their personal experiences with stress, anxiety and other forms of
mental health. A speaker from the Counseling and Student Development
Center also will talk about services it offers for students. This is
a passport event.
Students can take anxiety screenings on Wednesday to determine
individual stress and anxiety levels. This will be administered by
CSDC in Taylor 306 from 3 to 5 p.m. The week will conclude on
Thursday with a free yoga class at UREC from 3 to 4 p.m. An
informational table will be set up in UREC following the class, and
anyone can come ask questions and get further information.
"A lot of students probably don't realize the true impact of
mental health," Armstrong said. "All of us suffer from stress and
anxiety probably more often than we should. I really hope students
come out and learn about its effects."
Syre's class has done similar projects in the past, including
anti-smoking campaigns and eating disorder awareness, but this is
the first time the class has focused on mental health. "We plan on
keeping this for future years to come and have started a Web site so
people can get information," Marsano said. "We hope to gain as much
support as possible because mental disorders make up a large part of
our campus and can ruin people's college experiences."
Sponsored in part by CSDC and the University Health Center, the
class has worked to raise funds for the week through bagel sales,
Papa John's pizza sales, a raffle and a Ki: Theory and MacGregor
concert at Highlawn Pavilion.
"It's for a really good cause," Marsano said. "Look for us on the
commons and be aware of fliers around campus promoting our weekly
events. We're hoping it will be a lot of fun, and we have lots of
free information and prizes to give to everyone."