Events highlight mental health

By Kendra Smith

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The National Alliance on Mental Illness will be hosting three events this week to raise support for Mental Illness Awareness Week.

“I tell people every day (mental illness) is a medical model like any other illness,” said University Health Services clinical director Ann Hays. “You’re not afraid to come to the doctor for a cold; you shouldn’t be afraid to take care of your mental health.”

There will be a depression screening from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday on the second floor of the Student Center, said public relations officer Gail Hairston.

The UK counseling center will be partnering with NAMI during this event, Hairston said, which will also check for mental illnesses beyond depression.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at the Fayette County Mental Health Court. According to the NAMI website, this event will celebrate the creation of a system that treats mental illness as a effectively.

These events will culminate in the NAMIWalks fundraiser on Saturday at Masterson Station Park. Registration begins at 10 a.m. and the walk begins at 11 a.m. After the walk, there will be games, food, live entertainment, vendors and more, according to the NAMI website.

“The most common issues for college students are anxiety, depression, and addiction disorders,” said digital and mass communication senior Olivia McCoy, a social media intern for the UK Office of Public Relations and Marketing.

If students suspect a friend or acquaintance is struggling with a mental illness, they can submit a referral to the Community of Concern, a panel of UK staff who assist in health and safety referrals, McCoy said.

A student health fee is included in the tuition costs for full-time students, McCoy said. This allows students to use the University Health Services and visit the Behavioral Health Clinic if they feel they need to discuss mental health-related issues.

According to the Counseling Center in Frazee Hall is another resource for students, McCoy added. The UK counseling website, the center’s services are free for students with at least six credit hours.

“With such stressors as midterms coming up, it’s important to know how stress can affect students and what services are available to combat mental health issues,” McCoy said.