Balloons released in support of mental health

Millions of people are affected by mental health disorders every year. 1,100-college students take their own life from mental health disorders every year. The Sonoma State student body comes together as one in support of mental health awareness week. The University class 238 held a mental health awareness walk on Nov. 12 that started at the Sauvignon green and ending at Cabernet vineyard. 

“The walk was a bonding experience for us. We walked together to promote mental health is a issue for everyone,”  saidfreshman Devon Galbraith. 

At the end of the walk there was a open mic for all the students that wanted to share their experiences with a supportive group of people.

“People suffering from mental health issues are not alone. There is a huge community of support. All you have to do is ask,” said freshmanKendra Clark. 

“Bringing awareness to mental health issues are aserious thing, to not feel you are not an outsider because you have mental health illness and to be able to talk about it openly and be able to get the help you need,” said Clark when asked what the goal of the group was. 

All students gathered together in one big tight knit circle in Cabernet vineyard. Sharing experiences from their own lives. 

“At first I didn’t think I was going to share my story, but I did. Every time I share my story it lifts a weight off my shoulders. It makes my heart feel better every single time, and it makes you feel better sharing with people that care about you,” saidGalbraith. 

After every person shared,  the whole group would react by snapping as if a person just told a poem about their life.

 At the end of the open mic there were balloons connected to all the chairs. Each one had a mental health disorder written on them.  Each one of the students tooka balloon and released it into the sky as a group. 

“Through support and having people around letting them know you’re going through something. That is how you can move past something dramatic. By doing this all together we can let go to terrible things in our life and evolve into a good quality of life,” said Galbraith when asked what the balloons meant to him.   

Sonoma State comes together to stand as a group of connected individuals as they walk for mental health awareness.

 “It brings together a larger community of people to be able to focus on a shared experiences,” said Alvin Nguyen, a professor at Sonoma State.  

The biggest part is to ask help if you experiencing mental health issues. If you are looking for help there is a hotline you can contact The Helpline can also be accessed by texting TalkWithUs to 66746, or you can visit disasterdistress.samhsa.gov.