The Class of 2022 hosted the first Aggie Student Mental Health Day to provide students with an opportunity to learn about mental health through numerous student organizations.
Fourteen different organizations lined Academic Plaza from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 11. Students and faculty were invited to walk around the plaza and were even rewarded with the opportunity to pet dogs if they visited at least five different tables.
Event coordinator and Class of 2022 Vice President Christopher Richter said the past year has had a large impact on student mental health.
“We’re looking to provide resources for students, for faculty or for anyone passing by that they can use to empower themselves and improve their physical and mental health, especially in the aftermath of COVID-19,” Richter said.
Mental health is and always has been incredibly important for students, Richter said.
“Mental health can affect our day to day lives; it can affect our relationship with others and it can affect our grades in school,” Richter said. “So we, as a class council, and the Class of 22, thought that we could provide these resources and better help their chances of success.”
Richter said there is still a large amount of stigma surrounding student mental health.
“A lot of people may think that their struggles with mental health aren’t necessary to go get professional help and as a special emphasis of the event today we have [Counseling & Psychological Services] out here; they provide great resources to the Texas A&M campus.”
Senior Class President Hannah Payne stressed the importance of mental health.
“If you're distracted and can’t give your full brain power and mental attention to things you’re not going to be successful in school … really and truly health starts with mentality,” Payne said.
Student organizations can offer a great sense of community for students, computer science engineering senior and secretary of Alpha Psi Omega Gabe Noris said.
“We are a national theater honor society,” Noris said. “ We put on performances every single semester;we try to create workshops to help people grow their skills in the area of theater.”
Noris said being involved in student organizations has helped to create a group of individuals he can rely on.
“Finding a place where you can be yourself and that you can create your own environment to thrive … [it] definitely helps me stay happy,” Noris said.
Multimedia assistant for A&M Recreation Sports and urban and regional planning CLASS Jack Banas said physical and mental health go hand-in-hand.
“Rec sports isn’t just about the physical health aspect. We really do try and focus on the mental, too,” Banas said.
The Rec provides a lot of mental health focused programs for students, Banas said.
“This week we have sunrise yoga at The Gardens. It is supposed to be a relaxing event to go to [and] a very calming atmosphere,” Banas said.
Sriram Balakrishnan, biochemistry senior and vice president of the Bhakti Yoga Club, said the club’s yoga practices work with the mind.
“Our yoga is about controlling the mind,” Balakrishana said. “We take the mental aspect to it, so our yoga helps to control the mind when times are good and when times are bad.”
The dogs at Monday’s event were provided by Aggieland Pets with a Purpose.
“Since it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, we were asked to bring our dogs,” Kit Darley from Aggieland Pets with a Purpose said. “Our animals give their unconditional love to brighten people’s day.”
Kinesiology sophomore Melendez Emely said she felt supported from the event.
“For a person who suffers with her mental state when it comes to anxiety and learning how to cope with it, I feel that this is important because not everyone is open enough to talk about it,” Melendez said.