COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M will host its Mental Health and Suicide Awareness Week to support students’ mental health and overall wellbeing starting Feb. 27 and going through Mar. 3.
The 2020 pandemic highlighted how many people are struggling mentally and emotionally, and Texas A&M is making efforts to show students that there is no shame in asking for help.
Student body president Case Harris says there is a gap that needs mending between students and available resources.
“Mental health is a real challenge that students all across campus are facing and there is a disconnect between the resources that we have here at A&M and our students, and we need to find a way to connect the resources to the students,” Harris said.
A&M’s Student Government and Aggies Reaching Aggies made the decision to combine their Mental Health and Suicide Awareness weeks.
“It’s really a partnership all throughout campus because we all know how important mental health is to our students, and I think combining our resources and our outreach efforts is what can really make this week special,” Harris said.
Dr. James Deegear with Counseling and Psychological Services says the pandemic plays a major role in the issues students face today.
“Since then, we’ve seen spikes in social anxiety for students,” said Dr. Deegear, Interim Senior Director, Counseling and Mental Health Care, Texas A&M.
“We’ve seen a definite spike in academic distress. Students having been home trying to do learning, they got behind academically, and now they’re really stressed out trying to figure out how to get back on track.”
Harris wants his fellow classmates to know help is always available.
“We want to make sure we’re destigmatizing the conversation around mental health,” Harris said. “There’s still a stigma that if you’re dealing with mental health, some students believe you can’t talk about that or you can’t go to anyone about that and we want to make sure students know that they can, and the opportunity is there and we’re encouraging that.”
Throughout the week, students, faculty, and staff can participate in various activities such as a mental health panel, coffee with a counselor, yoga, and playing with puppies.
“There are going to be opportunities for doing training and QPR so that students can learn tactics and techniques for being able to reach out to fellow students and inquire about their mental health and get them directed towards help,” Dr. Deegear said.
“People can reach out by phone, they can reach out virtually by chat or through the internet, through 'My SSP', and we have a helpline that’s still available.”
You can find a full list of activities staring next week here.