The Student Government Association and the Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) partnered up last Thursday to host the University of Georgia’s first Mental Wellness Summit.
The motivation behind the summit, which was held in Rooker Hall, was to bring UGA student leaders together to brainstorm better ways to address mental wellness and introduce them to the mental health resources already provided on campus.
“The Mental Wellness Summit serves as a platform for everyone wanting to improve mental health,” Maddie Jones, senior public relations major and member of SHAC from Marietta told The Red & Black.
“It’s important that students and the university are taking interest in something so prevalent.”
Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS), the ASPIRE Clinic, the Center for Teaching and Learning, Student Care and Outreach, the University Health Center and The Fontaine Center were among the organizations in attendance, providing students with information about their services.
“One of the biggest things with mental wellness is that students often don’t know when or where to find the resources that can help them,” said Aliya Abdulla, member of SHAC and third-year psychology major from Lilburn.
Aside from their clinics and counseling services, UHC also offers free wellness and prevention programs such as stress and anxiety workshops, yoga for stress relief and WatchDawgs: Bystander Intervention workshops.
SGA and SHAC members also want to raise awareness of the health center’s resources for any student who experiences mental health-related issue.
“Many of our students struggle with stress, depression, anxiety and mental wellness issues,” said Cameron Keen, SGA president. “And when one student at UGA is struggling, it impacts our entire community. That’s why it is so important for all of us to partner together in making sure each student is cared for.”
SGA has been working toward making UHC resources more accessible to students by installing new features for the UGA mobile app.
Features will include scheduling a health center appointment as well as 24-hour emergency services for mental wellness and sexual assault. These features are expected to launch within the next two months.
Beyond the summit, UGA student leaders aim to continue to spread awareness about the university’s mental health resources.
“The health center does it best advertising and being present in front of the student body, but our voice doesn’t always get carried along,” Abdulla said. “That’s why it’s very important for student leaders to become ambassadors and a voice for the students that don’t know about these resources.”
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