East Tennessee State University students and faculty trekked through campus Wednesday afternoon in a Walk of Hope to raise campus awareness on the importance of mental health wellness.
The 3K walk is in its third year, and moved from downtown Johnson City to ETSU’s campus this year as students and faculty carried a banner, blew bubbles and waved blue and purple streamers for the campaign. Outreach assistant director Mina McVeigh said that about 75 students participated in the event this year, which began in the wake of comedian Robin Williams’ death in 2014.
“This year we decided to stand up for mental health on campus and let people see that there’s no reason to be ashamed and that it really is stigma that keeps people from seeking treatment,” McVeigh said.
McVeigh said that part of the event is to let students who may be suffering from depression, anxiety, addiction or any other mental illness that they are not alone and that the Counseling center is open year-round and free for students.
McVeigh said that talking with loved ones who may be having some mental health issues is important. She said keeping an eye out for any behavioral changes can help pinpoint someone who may be dealing with depression or suicidal thoughts, and said loved ones shouldn’t be afraid to reach out.
“What we know is when you ask the question, ‘Do you think you’re going to kill yourself?’ that it doesn’t cause people to kill themselves,” she said.
The Walk of Hope is one of many events and services that the counseling center is offering for students on campus. Next week, students will be able to take a confidential screening test for depression online through the counseling center, and in November the counseling center will be promoting men’s health for the month.
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