Photo by Autumn Walter | Members of Delta Phi Epsilon held a tie-dye event last week with all proceeds going to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders.
Last week, the University of Rhode Island’s Panhellenic and Interfraternity Councils held its second annual M.I.G.H.T. Week to promote mental health awareness.
M.I.G.H.T. stands for Mental Illness Gets Heard Today. The events focused on several aspects of mental health including anxiety, stress and depression as well as effective strategies to combat them. Aiden Keene, director of mental health awareness for the Interfraternity Council, said that one of the goals for M.I.G.H.T. Week is to help the campus community understand the impact of mental illness, and what students can do to get assistance with mental health.
“The Greek system has recognized that mental illness and mental health as something that could always be addressed more,” Keene said. “We made the events to benefit Greek Life students, but also all URI students so they can learn more about it, what resources are on campus, learn some good techniques and coping for better mental health and recognizing mental illness.”
Former URI student and Panhellenic Council member Marisa Aspromonti suggested M.I.G.H.T. week in 2017. Previously, the council held a day-long event featuring a keynote speaker. This is the first year in which the event has been expanded into a week. All events during the week were open to community members.
Celine Orabi, vice president of Member Education for the Panhellenic Council, hopes that the week will become a popular tradition for future generations of students.
“It’s my goal for whoever has the position [of vice president of Member Education] after me, just to keep building on it so it becomes a week as big as Greek Week, at least for the Greek community,” Orabi said. “I want something that people can come together over and really learn from.”
The week began on Monday, Oct. 1 with an education fair in Atrium two of the Memorial Union. Representatives from several mental health organizations on campus participated and spoke to students about these resources.
On Tuesday, the Panhellenic Council held a facilitated panel discussion about mental health issues in Quinn Auditorium. Orabi moderated the discussion, while senior psychology major Neni Benzan, alumna Kayla Mudge, Assistant Director of Substance Abuse Prevention services Kelley Ryan and Assistant Director of Outreach and Interventions Jacqui Tisdale served on the panel. Participants could anonymously ask questions about mental health on a website during the event, in which the panelists answered.
The councils screened the movie “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” on Wednesday at Pastore Hall. The film follows a suicidal teenager that checks into a psychiatric ward. On Thursday the Delta Phi Epsilon sorority held a tie-dye event where proceeds were donated to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. On Friday, to conclude the week, community members were encouraged to wear green to show support for mental health awareness.
Orabi said that she hoped that the event would bring more support for mental health to URI.
“I hope for people to feel a little bit more educated about the topic, and for people to feel a little bit more comfortable talking about it,” Orabi said. “My biggest goal is for people to know where to go and who to talk to if they need help.”