Fairmont State University has been awarded a Campus Mental Health Grant from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission to launch the University’s Falcon Mental Health Awareness Program. The aim of the Falcon Mental Health Awareness Program is to promote mental health awareness and prevention among the campus community through support programs and by enhancing existing mental health services.
“According to the CDC, more than 25 percent of 18 – 24-year olds have seriously considered suicide over the past few months, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Fairmont State Director of Student Health, Chelsea Collins. “We aim to combat this statistic through unified, interprofessional efforts to increase awareness and provide education to improve the mental health status of our students and campus community as a whole.”
Monthly health promotion activities will take place throughout the academic year including Wellness Fairs, Yoga on the Quad, Main Street Mental Health in the Falcon Center, residence hall educational programming, stress management sessions and support groups, among others. All events taking place will follow the University's health and safety protocols. In addition to events, social media and social marketing campaigns will be implemented to provide further support to students.
Falcon Mental Health Awareness Program activities and educational resources will focus on key areas including post COVID-19 mental health awareness, suicide awareness, mental health disorders with an emphasis on depression and disorderly eating, high risk sexual behavior, alcohol use and binge drinking, substance use and abuse, stress reduction techniques, time management, adjustments to college life and current events and social issues as they relate to mental health.
“Our goal is to ensure that our students are aware that we have mental health services available on campus, that we are there for them and that they are never alone. We are glad that they’re here, and we want to keep them safe and healthy while they’re here,” Collins added.
The first of the activities scheduled as part of the Falcon Mental Health Awareness Program will take place during Suicide Prevention Week on Wednesday, September 8, as the campus community joins together for the “Stomp Out the Stigma Walk and Roll.” During this event, students, faculty and staff will join together for a walk around campus to raise awareness around suicide prevention and negative stigmas associated with mental health. Those participating are encouraged to explore the various mental health services available on campus following the walk at a campus resource fair on the Falcon Center Quad, where yoga and other activities will take place.
“This nation and our region face a mental health crisis,” said Fairmont State University President, Mirta M. Martin. “This grant from the HEPC enables us to proactively confront this crisis head-on. Through the Falcon Mental Health Awareness Program, we will continue our efforts to create a safe and healthy environment for everyone in our Falcon Family.”