World mental health day brings awareness to UT students

Kayla Meyertons

Each year on Oct. 10, thousands observe World Mental Health Day, an annual educational campaign dedicated to mobilizing efforts in support of mental health, according to the World Health Organization.

Both the UT Counseling and Mental Health Center and Student Government recognized World Mental Health Day and have made efforts this year to promote mental health awareness around campus. UT Dell Medical School tweeted a link Tuesday morning to the central World Health Organization’s website urging students to recognize the global occurrence.

World Mental Health Day was first celebrated in 1992 as an initiative of the World Federation of Mental Health, a global mental health organization with members in over 100 countries, according to the WHO’s website.

“Anytime that we can talk about mental health in an open and honest environment is beneficial to all of us, to both those who have lived with mental illness and the people in our lives who are supporting them,” said Katy Redd, CMHC assistant director for prevention and outreach. 

Two weeks ago, CMHC observed suicide prevention week and highlighted ways for students to recognize warning signs of suicide-related behaviors.

“It’s the bystander intervention mentality,” Redd said. “If you notice something, feel empowered to do something. It makes for a better community when we’re caring for each other in that way.”

This year’s World Mental Health Day focused on a theme of “psychological first aid,” the basic pragmatic psychological support by people in helping roles in our society.

Student Government president Kevin Helgren said college students are especially susceptible to mental health issues, and World Mental Health Day informs students they are not alone.

“World Mental Health Day is a great reminder that mental health is something we all face in some form or fashion,” said Helgren, a neuroscience and psychology senior. “Because it’s so normal, there are resources out there for you to get help.”

SG is teaming with the Division of Food and Health Services this year to place mental health information pamphlets in all 14 dining halls on campus, Helgren said.

Chemistry freshman Alexandra Boyd said she never heard of World Mental Health Day, but she knew about resources such as the UT Crisis Line and the help services at CMHC available on campus. 

“It’s good because not a lot of people who have had experience with mental health know a lot about it,” Boyd said. “Me, for instance — I don’t really know that much about mental health. I guess it’s just cool to be informed.”