By Audrey Widodo
The University of Maryland’s Department of Resident Life held the Terps Take Care fair to raise awareness for mental health in the Edward St. John building Feb. 27. The event included wellness activities, local vendors and campus resources available to students for self care.
The fair brings people who are open to talking about mental health together despite the stigma, said Leslie Krafft, the case manager from Resident Life who organized the event.
“If you have a mind, you have mental health, and everybody needs to take care of their mental health,” she said.
Many contributing factors strain mental health, such as social media, academic pressures and societal issues, said Tiffany Gaines-Ekwueme, the assistant director for Housing Partnerships for Resident Life. She has been in the department for 11 years and has seen stress become more prevalent in students.
“We live in a gratification-now society with more technology and more access to people, which all play a role in some of the difficulties students face,” Gaines-Ekwueme said. “Social media plays a great deal in some of the stressors and unhappiness everyone faces, not only students.”
Anthony Sartori, a senior psychology major, said the stigma around mental health has decreased over the last decade and students have found communities to support them on campus, like Active Minds and SPARC.
“College students need to examine what are some self-care strategies. I try to meditate 10 to 20 minutes every day and incorporate mindful principles into my daily life, so it becomes a lifestyle,” Sartori said.
Julie Le, a sophomore psychology major, incorporates self care to help with anxiety in her life.
“When you’re concerned with exams, social life, it is hard to stop and think about yourself. Being able to remind yourself that you are a human being who deserves care is important.”
For Le, self-care is balancing time with friends and having time to herself to reflect on her life and happiness.
Dr. Rashanta Bledman, the staff psychologist at the Counseling Center, encourages students to attend more self-care events like the Terps Take Care fair.
“We’re working together as a community to reduce stigma on mental health for individuals,” she said.