Since 1949, May has been recognized in the United States as Mental Health Month. This yearly observance is not only used to spread the word about mental health, but to also promote education and overall wellbeing.
Rocky Vista University commemorated the occasion with presentations and a series of health screenings. The activities were created to help people in immediate need, raise awareness about mental illness, and educate those unfamiliar with the warning signs. Kade Rucker, NPC, LPCC, Counselor, organized the two-week long event.
“Mental Health still carries a stigma with it, especially in the medical school community,” he said, “I want students to have access to information and resources that will educate them about the importance of taking care of their mental health now.”
A series of four screenings were scheduled from mid to late May. The checkups were designed to help people who are dealing with such ailments as depression, anxiety, eating disorders and substance abuse. The five-minute exam is an effective tool in recognizing and treating mental health issues, hopefully getting them on the path to improving their lives.
“I enjoy connecting with the students outside of counseling sessions because it helps reduce the stigma of mental health and the fear of counseling,” said Mr. Rucker, “It also allows me to learn from the students and know more about their interests in an informal setting.”
Throughout the month, a variety of events and activities were planned. On May 14th, an Equine-Gestalt coaching lecture was given to students interested in improving their mental and emotional well-being. The therapy combines the traditional gestalt therapeutic approach with animal therapy. While no actual horses were available for the class, the students on hand were taught the benefits of this alternative treatment. The lecture was led by Dr. Sue Dillon, DO.
A sleep experience seminar was offered, as was a rousing game of “Mental Health Jeopardy.” A raffle was held at each event and a grand prize winner was drawn from those students who attended every function. Jeff Beach, OMS-I, was selected as the 2018 champion.