Making Mental Health a Priority: Student Resources and Events in April

A photograph of Snell Hall, where students can find Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) resources. CAPS, along with DamWorthIt, looks to help people with mental health issues at OSU.

Between COVID-19, finals week and gloomy winter weather, a lot of students may be facing mental health issues. But please remember that none of us are completely alone in confronting mental health problems. Oregon State University has your back.

Below are just a few mental health resources and upcoming events that students can turn to for help.

Out of the Darkness Event

Next month on Apr. 17, OSU students and faculty will host the Out of the Darkness Campus Virtual Walk in partnership with OSU Counseling and Psychological Services and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. 

Usually, this event takes place in person; however, this year there will be a virtual twist to the original event. 

Lucianne Ryan, programs and education services chair for the AFSP Oregon Chapter, is also the OOTD event’s chair. 

“The OOTD events are aimed at raising both awareness andfunds,”Ryansaid. “The funds provide program services, education and research throughout the country. It also comes back to OSU to fund suicide prevention training that AFSP provides us.”  

Before COVID-19, the OOTD campus walks consisted of a walk around Corvallis, a ceremony and a resource fair. 

With the virtual event, students can participate by heading to the OSU OOTD website. The live streamed virtual ceremony will include the virtual honor bead ceremony, guest speakers and a memorial ceremony. 

During the in-person honor bead ceremony, participants would choose a bead color that represented their connection to suicide. With beads in hand, participants would raise them into the air in remembrance and solidarity while a guest speaker introduced each color. 

For the virtual ceremony, as each speaker shares their story, participants can react in the chat using colored beads of their own.

According to Kate Rockey, an intern working on the mental health resource fair, students can explore clubs, organizations and nonprofits like Counseling and Psychological Services, DAM Worth It, Crisis Text Line, the Academic Success Center and many more.

“It’s like a big 30 min[ute] hug from all these places being like ‘Hey, we’re here for you,’” Rockey said.

At the resource fair, students can find support for subjects like health care, survivor advocacy, suicide prevention and disability services, to name a few. 

Leading up to the event, everyone will have the opportunity to help with fundraising activities to increase awareness for these issues. 

On the OOTD website, students can register and join teams virtually. Both the teams and individuals can establish fundraising goals and even set pledges for mental health-related activities. More information regarding AFSP fundraising can be found here

DAM Worth It

DAM Worth It was started at OSU in November of 2017 with the objective of using the powerful platform of athletics to open up the conversation around mental health. 

Similar to the OOTD events, DAM Worth It works hard to end the stigma around mental health.

“We try to be a voice for those who haven’t necessarily spoken about their mental health,” President of DAM Worth It Sarah Connolly said. “I mean, it is estimated that 1 in 5 people experience mental illness in their lifetime. There could very well be folks in the remaining 4 out of 5 who are struggling on their own. We are that voice for those [people] until they are ready to speak out on their own terms.” 

With this effort in mind, DAM Worth It will host an event from May 3-7 called DAM Worth It Week. The event aims to provide resources for students while bringing the community together for a fun, informative and eventful week.

Students will have the opportunity to participate in a campus-wide scavenger hunt where QR codes will be placed in varying locations. Each QR code will have things like a favorite study spot, a place to relax or an educational bit of info about mental health. Eventually, the QR codes will guide students to a final stop where they can find mental health resources and even prizes.

During DAM Worth It Week, there will also be a day dedicated to storytelling, where members of the Corvallis community can share their experiences with mental health in a safe environment. To learn more about this, reach out to Sarah Connolly at [email protected]

A new documentary created by Jared Bierbrauer, a member of DAM Worth It, will also be released during this week for the Corvallis community to view.

“It is mainly focused on breaking down the barriers of mental health and masculinity, with interviews from really great people in the Corvallis community,” Connolly said.

Other events also include a trivia game day and a yoga and meditation day. For more information regarding DAM Worth It Week, check out the DAM Worth It website and Instagram.

Togetherall

DAM Worth It has also been using an online mental health support program called Togetherall, which is available to all OSU students for free here through their OSU ONID email.

“It’s a space where students go and they can vent, discuss their day, the hardships they’re going through—but it is not therapy,” Connolly said. “It’s an anonymous resource to tell their stories and peers can see them!”

The program provides a place for peers to comment, provide support and even leave some advice—of course, with an emphasis on anonymity. 

Togetherall also offers trainings and courses for students who are experiencing grief, anxiety and other mental health issues that may come up. 

A mental health professional monitors the site around the clock to keep the space safe and maintain communication integrity. In addition, if a student is in crisis, the mental health professional can contact the student about their school’s mental health services.

Even though only a few organizations and events have been briefly mentioned here, it’s clear how much support and spirit the OSU community has to offer.

Hotlines

Tess Webster-Henry, a mental health promotion coordinator with CAPS, shared hotlines below that are free for students to use when in crisis.

CAPS 24/7 Mental Health Crisis Hotline for students: 541-737-2131

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255)

Crisis Text Line: Text “OREGON” to 741-741

BIPOC Crisis Text Line: Text “STEVE” to 741-741

Trevor Lifeline for LGBTQ+ Youth: 866-488-7386