Central New York, Education, Health, Syracuse

Mental Health Week is Helping Students Prioritize Mental Health

Sarina Wallace said she believes students should make their mental health a top priority. (c) 2017 Gabrielle Caracciolo

Listen here to find out how Syracuse University organizations are reducing the stigma surrounding mental health.

By Gabrielle Caracciolo SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — This week is national mental health awareness week and organizations at Syracuse University are teaming up to increase student engagement with the mental health services available to them.

Multiple offices and organizations have been working for years to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health on campus. Kristelle Aisaka works as a mental health specialist in the office of health promotion. She said she has worked to more effectively coordinate these efforts of each group into one specialized awareness week.

“We made it happen last fall on a much smaller scale,” Aisaka said. “This year we’re really lucky to have expanded that a lot and then it can only get better from here.”

The week consisted of events ranging from yoga to sessions with therapy dogs and round-table conversations about mental health. One group co-sponoring the week is mental wellness peer educators. Sophomore peer educator Sarina Wallace said she took on the role because she noticed she noticed her friends were not prioritizing their mental wellbeing, something she believes is very important.

“I wanted to be able to be that liazon between going to the right resources and them getting the best help that they could,” Wallace said.

Both Wallace and Aisaka say they hope that by continuing to foster an open dialouge among students surrounding mental health they can connect more students to the resources they need.