April 25 is Mental Health Awareness Day on campus: Here’s what is planned

By Breanna Hoffner

MENTAL Health Awareness Day is planned at York College for April 25 and will feature several different events that students can partake in throughout the day. 

This is the first time a day like this is to be held at the college, and it was the idea of Dr. Robyn Maitoza. She is an associate professor of human services at YCP and realized after talking to students that a mental health day was a must. 

“Since the pandemic, I’ve seen an increase in mental health challenges across campus … with May being Mental Health Awareness Month I thought it was appropriate to do something,” Maitoza says.

At first, Maitoza reached out to Counseling Services and found that they already were planning to bring animals to campus that day. So, they decided to make it Mental Health Awareness Day.

Dr. Robyn Maitoza

Working with other colleagues, Dr. Maitoza began to add more to the day including speakers and panels. 

Beginning at 9 a.m., Jakki Williams, an associate professor in North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University’s Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management, will lead a virtual Mindfulness Moment. Williams will discuss a method of meditation referred to as Sura Flow. 

Following this from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m,, Counseling Services will offer “Have a Ball Down at the Farm.” Students are encouraged to interact with a variety of different animals to relieve stress. 

Recreation Leadership students will lead the “Be Calm and Craft On” session from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the patio of Iosue Student Union building. Participants can create mindfulness maps and other stress alleviating crafts. 

From 3 to 4 p.m., a panel discussion entitled “Want a Career Helping Others” will be held in room 118 of the Willman Business Center. Panelists will include Amber Wagman, executive director of Turning Point Counseling Services; Alexis Johnston, manager (People and Processes/HR) at Helping Hands Family; Danielle Whitebread, senior director at Typical Life Corporation; and Dan Mickel, sports psychology consultant.

The day will conclude with a lecture titled “The Upside of Stress” at 7 p.m. Kelly McGonigal is a health psychologist, author and Stanford University lecturer. McGonigal has presented a TED Talk and has written several books on the topic of mental health and stress.

There was debate on whether or not to incorporate Mental Health Awareness Day into Spartan Day, but Maitoza says she believes it is best to keep them apart. This way, students can enjoy both days separately. 

“I hope to see this as an annual event, and I’m hoping students come out to participate,” Maitoza says. “There’s something for everyone, and everything is beneficial.”

Breanna Hoffner is a senior majoring in marketing and minoring in professional writing, hospitality marketing and creative writing.

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