Mental health awareness week will promote wellness

Starting Nov. 9 and wrapping up Nov. 13, Sonoma State University will be hosting Mental Health Awareness Week. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) will be hosting this event in collaboration with various other groups including Campus Life, The HUB, Associated Student Productions, Student Affairs, Rec Sports, Residence Life, Peer Mentors and the Student Health Center. 

The student clubs that will be supporting this week of events include Psi Chi, Support Our Students (SOS), Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) and HUB interns. Even the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Sonoma County and Aurora Behavioral Health will be involved. 

“This is the second annual Mental Health Awareness Week. Last year the focus was on awareness and reducing stigma around mental illness. This year we are complimenting that and focusing on the promotion of mental health and wellness,” Dr. Joseph Puentes said, a representative from CAPS and the lead for Mental Health Awareness week. 

To emphasize the importance of mental health, there will be a visual exhibit of 1100 hearts hanging from a tree that represent the 1100 college students the die as a result of suicide each year. 

Each member of the community will be invited to put messages of hope, encouragement and support on the backs of these hearts. This will represent members of the community supporting one another. 

“The hearts will be hung from the trees in front of Salazar during the week. The hearts project is a true collaboration between students, faculty and staff,” Puentes said. 

The project was created by Georgie Kujiraoka, a Sonoma State student counselor, Carina Buzo at The HUB/Campus Life, Alivin Nguyen and the peer mentors, Sarah Hinchman and Paolo Ochoa of ASP. 

The week will kick off with a screening of the film “HAPPY” in Stevenson 1002 at 8 p.m. The producers of “HAPPY” set out to answer the age old questions: What makes us happy? School? Family? Do we live in a world that promotes happiness and well-being? The film explores the secrets behind this most valued emotion. 

On Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. there will be a Mental Health Promotion Fair in the Seawolf Plaza. There will be interactive games, prizes, wellness resources and the chance to play with some therapy dogs. 

The Sonoma State community is coming together to put on this event, so each organization will be bringing something special for students to enjoy. 

At 12 p.m. that same day there will be an interactive workshop in The HUB student center titled EmBodied: Positive Queer Body Image. 

The workshop will explore unique body image challenges we face within the queer community. It gives students the opportunity to participate in creative activities to move towards self-love and acceptance that honor your intersecting identities. 

Then from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, there will be a workshop that promotes self-compassion in the Student Center Sonoma Valley Room titled “End the War, Start the Peace: The Rewarding Practice of Self-Compassion.” 

The workshop aims to help students brush off the haters and make peace with themselves. 

On Thursday from 3 p.m. to4:30 p.m. there will be suicide prevention training in the Alexander Valley Room in the Student Center. 

The workshop will teach students how they can save a life in three easy steps. To attend, email Dr. Puentes at puentesj@sonoma.edu. 

Also on Thursday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. mental health will be promoted through self-expression in art in the Cooperage, hosted by The HUB. Art will be used to build a community of support, foster self-awareness and realize a clear sense of self. 

A Yoga class which aims to leave students refreshed, awakened and inspired will be the last event of the week held on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the Rec Center.