On Wednesday the 8th of October 32 Universities across Australia and New Zealand paused for a minute of silence to raise awareness of the issues surrounding mental health and wellbeing. With current statistics stating that one third of young people will suffer a mental illness before the age of 25 the importance of raising awareness about mental health issues is clear. But that is as somber as mental health and wellbeing day got at ANU.

Union court came alive with music and colour, hoola hooping and hop scotch, and stalls promoted all the wonderful health and wellbeing services available to university students. The scents of delicious food and the sounds of laughing workshops drifted across the university as students came together to talk about a very serious issue in a whole new light. Dominica Kazan from the ANU Counseling Center was delighted with how well the day went and the positive atmosphere, “the message is so much stronger coming from other students than from just us from the counseling center. This event is great because it is so positive and happy and really gets across the message that dealing with mental health and mental illness doesn’t have to be a sentence, its something that you can live positively with and then move on.”

Mental Health and Wellbeing day was part of a week-long campaign that took place across the country to get people talking about mental health as a community, reduce stigma surrounding mental illness, and discover the many ways good mental health can be maintained, or help can be accessed if needed. As well as ANU Counseling Centre, other services available to ANU students present on the day included HeadSpace, a peak national organisation helping people under the age of 25 with mental health, and representatives from ANU Virtual Clinic, who reported that they are in the final stages of student consultation and feedback, and that the virtual clinic is expected to be up and running very soon. 

As exams are fast approaching and the high-stress business end of the semester is very much upon us, it more important now than ever that students keep and eye out for each other and check up on their mental health. Students who feel they may need some help or just want to talk to someone can access free and confidential counseling at ANU Counseling Center by calling 6125 2442. Or if students require an emergency session they can drop into the centre before 9am and obtain a short appointment.

 

Photography by Tara Shenoy