On Monday, Active Minds at Carolina and To Write Love on Her Arms set up booths in Polk Place in observance of World Suicide Prevention Day.
The event was advertised as Mental Health Monday and was supported by student government’s new Mental Health Task Force.
“UNC isn’t always the easiest place to be. The constant stresses of academics, social life and other growing pains take their toll,” said Mental Health Task Force member Niya Patel. “The Mental Health Mondays initiative is centered around improving students’ lives in small ways."
Student Body President Savannah Putnam’s administration created the task force to support mental health and wellbeing of UNC students.
“We have many important initiatives and policy goals this year, including the creation of a mental health coalition that will bring together student organizations from across the campus,” said Mental Health Task Force Co-Directors Emma Caponigro and Raleigh Cury.
The Task Force's goals include greater emphasis on first-year mental well-being, partnerships between campus organizations to pool resources for mental health, and providing transportation for students who need off-campus mental health services.
One of its main areas of focus is publicizing the University’s Counseling and Psychological Services. CAPS provides various mental health services, including individual therapy and medication management, for students.
Active Minds shared facts and dispelled myths about mental illness, as well as provided resources for students who are struggling with their mental health.
The club was originally created by UNC students who lost a friend to suicide.
The group plans to hold monthly Mental Health Mondays as part of a wellness campaign that brings student groups together to address mental health on campus.
“Today is Mental Health Monday, and it is our mission to eliminate stigma and raise awareness of mental illness,” said Active Minds member Avery Reel. “We have a bunch of resources today about how to help a friend and a pocket guide to mental health.”
Active Minds hosts de-stress events each month. During finals week last year, members stood on campus and handed out bags of coffee and tea.
“We also give out information about CAPS; we’re CAPS supporters,” Reel said. “We want to make sure everyone knows there are resources on campus for them to use.”
To Write Love on Her Arms, a nonprofit organization dedicated to suicide prevention, had a booth where students were encouraged to anonymously write reasons to continue living. The notes were posted on a trifold board and went along with this year's theme, "Tomorrow Needs You," said Bellamy Harden, the organization's social media chair.
One student wrote, “Because I need to see myself published.” Another wrote, “Because I have so many more sunrises and sunsets to see.”
The next Mental Health Monday will be held on Oct. 8.