If you are familiar with Texas A&M University, odds are you've heard of The Big…
Multiple programs and events have been created to showcase resources available on campus
The initiative, which also is designed to promote self-care, brings 17 activities to campus Monday through Friday, including having coffee and a chat with counselors, panel discussions with experts on the front lines, stories from student athletes who have experienced a mental health condition and more.
At colleges across the United States, up to 75 percent of students struggling with depression and anxiety are reluctant to get help, while one in three experience significant depression or anxiety during their college careers, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Student Body President Case Harris, co-chair of A&M’s Mental Health Task Force, said increasing awareness about available resources is critical.
“There are so many different ways to get help and support on our campus—whether that’s for an individual, a friend or an acquaintance,” Harris said. “We have professional counselors, for those who want to get more involved in being part of the solution, peer support and much more. That’s the word we’re trying to get out.”
Supporting the campus community through enhanced mental health services and resources are of significant importance to A&M President M. Katherine Banks, who created the Mental Health Task Force.
“Students are the highest priority,” Banks said. “Their mental health and well-being are foundational to their overall success. The university is making significant investments in our health care facilities and services, including the creation of a distributed mental health services model—embedding clinicians across campus in key academic units and locations.”
Nancy Fahrenwald, associate vice president for University Health Services and co-chair of the task force, said A&M’s commitment to support mental health throughout the Aggie community is reflected in the dedicated students and staff involved in planning the awareness week.
“It’s important to know that our care for each other extends beyond a week to every day of the year,” Fahrenwald said. “Support is available 24/7 for those who are struggling. The work of our Student Mental Health Task Force, led by Student Body President Case Harris, is focused on making sure resources are available and accessible to support mental health.”
For students who are not physically located in Bryan-College Station help still is available in many different forms, including logging on to MySSP, which stands for My Student Support Program, where students can receive 24/7 access to professional counselors through a phone call or chat at no cost.
Following is the schedule of events this week:
Monday, Feb. 27
- 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Talk Saves Lives is virtual training for faculty and staff who will learn common risk factors and warning signs associated with suicide, and how to keep themselves and others safe. Register here.
- 1-3 p.m. SGA and Aggies Reaching Aggies will host a bannering event at Rudder Plaza.
- 4:30-6:30 p.m. Also at Rudder Plaza: Hang out, take photos with Yell Leaders, enjoy some Crumbl Cookies and learn more about what mental health resources are available on campus.
Tuesday, Feb. 28
- 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Aggies Reaching Aggies tabling event at the MSC’s 12th Man Hall.
- 1-3 p.m. Coffee with a Counselor. Register here for the opportunity to engage in an informal environment with a mental health professional and discuss strategies for self-care. The event is sponsored by the Suicide Awareness & Prevention Office (SAPO).
- 6:30-7:30 p.m. SGA Mental Health Panel in the Gates Ballroom at the MSC: The discussion will include Fahrenwald; Kristie De La Garza, a licensed professional counselor with Counseling and Psychological Services; Ethan Tan, vice president of Student Services with SGA; and Jordan Nixon, a graduate student and former athlete.
Wednesday, March 1
- 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Donuts for Downloads at the MSC 12th Man Hall & Engineering Quad.
- 1-3 p.m. Freshman Leaders in Christ and Aggie Mental Health Ambassadors at the MSC’s 12th Man Hall invite all to stop by and hang out.
- 5-7 p.m. Training facilitated by volunteers with Aggies Reaching Aggies at the Student Services Building in Room 308. Students can register here.
Thursday, March 2
- 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Aggie Moms and Puppies with Aggie PAWS at Rudder Plaza.
- 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Coffee with a Counselor at the Starbucks in Evans Library. Register here.
- 1-3 p.m. Aggies Reaching Aggies Awareness Event at the MSC’s 12th Man Hall.
- 4:30-6:30 p.m. An Evening Out in Aggie Park: Resources and connection with yard games, resource tables and more.
- 6-7 p.m. Breathe In, Stretch Out Yoga, a hybrid activity presented by the Department of Recreational Sports at J. Wayne Stark Galleries. Register here for both the in-person event and to receive a link to watch online.
- 7-8 p.m. Fostering Athletes’ Continued Excellence (F.A.C.E.) Student athletes will share stories about their mental health journey.
Friday, March 3
- 9-11 a.m. Coffee with a Counselor at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore at the MSC. Register here.
- 12-2 p.m. Aggies Reaching Aggies and HelpLine bannering event.
All students should download the My SSP app to text, call or video chat with professional counselors in multiple languages.
Media contact: Dee Dee Grays, firstname.lastname@example.org, 979.436.0611