Mental Health and Wellness Week Campus Event

With the start of a brand new semester, there is usually talk of many students struggling with stress and/or being mentally drained.

Even though mental health awareness month is nationally recognized as an event during the month of May, SUNY Oswego hosted a Mental and Wellness Week tabling event yesterday from 1–4 p.m.

The Health and Wellness Week tabling event has different sectors of SUNY Oswego involved, from the Lifestyles Center, to the Counseling Center, and to school clubs coming together to get students involved in learning about mental health and how to treat it.

Just outside the Marano Campus Center, tables were set up with different activities that were catered to educating students about mental health and wellness. As well as encouraging students to participate in the activities.

One of the most interactive tables brought art as a therapeutic way to encourage mental health. Hosted by the organization Brothers and Sisters in Christ (B.A.S.I.C), they brought rocks from Lake Ontario and paint brushes to encourage others to paint anything that has significance to them.

“We finally thought of a way to reach people through the arts,” said student, Alina Mangual. Many students chose to paint something that was special to them, from school organizations they run, to their love for books.

“It’s creative and gives you a medium to express yourself,” said Mangual. “It’s definitely therapeutic.”

For Mangual and many other students, when she is under mental distress, she likes to shut off from other people. However, with these types of tabling events, it helps her interact with others.

“It’s about me getting to know people and in the process I’m healing myself,” said Mangual.

Much like Mangual is able to get to know more people, so was Betsy Waterman, a former SUNY Oswego professor for the Counseling and Psychological Services Department. Waterman continues to be involved with the campus and the Health and Wellness Week event even after retiring.

To contribute to SUNY Oswego’s mental health programs, Waterman brings her dog, Murphy, to interact with students as a form of dog therapy. From her own experiences with Murphy, Waterman believes that dogs have a therapeutic effect on people.

Me and Murphy

“If I’m distressed, he’ll lay his head on my knee,” said Waterman. During Waterman’s experience with lyme and heart disease, Murphy was also there to accompany her and make her feel better. “He’s very comforting,” said Waterman.

Waterman has brought Murphy to other school activities before, but this was her first time attending the Health and Wellness Week tabling event with Murphy. Waterman believes it’s a great way to spend her time. Students are getting the therapeutic effects in the process as well.

If students are not able to have opportunities such as dogs available to them, it is important for them to know how to heal themselves and know the process of mental recovery.

The SUNY Oswego Lifestyles Center had an interactive game for students to play which showed getting to maintenance as the goal in recovery.

The game is in a continuous circle which “is a good scenario for recovery,” said student, Gabrielle McCarty. “The game was meant to show that even in maintenance you move forward and have setbacks in recovery.” Recovery is a never-ending process much like the “never-ending” circle game.

According to healthyplace.com, some of the steps to move toward mental health recovery are to be open to change, accepting a diagnosis, but not letting it define a person, and learning to trust people.

With the Mental Health and Wellness Week tabling event, it is pushing students towards mental healing and recovery.