Student Engagement hosts mental health fair, educates attendees

Arianna Beers, Reporter

The Office of Student Engagement hosted a mental health fair Tuesday to educate students about mental illnesses and disorders.

Informational booths and tables were set out from noon to 4 in the SUN Student Union where students could play games and engage in activities.

“There is a lot of stigma surrounding mental illness,” Letha Valiaveedu, a counselor at AACC said. “It’s important to increase awareness and decrease stigma so students can get help early and have a better prognosis.”

Valiaveedu also stated that one in five individuals in the United States suffer from a mental health disorder.

Elena Butler, a volunteer at the fair, ran a booth with a matching game where students would attempt to match the mental disorder with the symptoms of the disorder.

“It’s very important to speak up and share with other people what you’re struggling with,” Butler said. “You never know what the person you’re talking to is going through, so maybe they are going through the same thing.”

Another one of the tables at the fair presented colored paper where students could submit anonymous secrets in exchange for a chance to win a prize.

Anna Frazier, a second-year dance student, said it was good to educate students about mental health.

“There is more awareness of mental health now a day’s but it’s still swept under the rug,” Frazier said. “So its good to have resources that students can connect with if they need to.”

The fair also presented a Crisis Hotline booth where students could learn about the Maryland Crisis Hotline and other sources where they can go for help.

“I think people need to know more about mental health,” Selena Thompson, a first-year biology student, said. “There are lots of ways to get help but I think most people are unaware of them.”

Thompson also emphasized the negative impact anxiety and other mental health disorders can have on a college students life.

If you are struggling with a mental health disorder call the Anne Arundel County Crisis Response Warmline at 410-768-5522.