Changing direction

 Association aims to alter mental health stigma

LAURA FREEDMAN
Staff Writer

The University’s Public Relations Student Society of America chapter has made this week “happiness week” at The University in order to support mental health awareness.

The University’s PRSSA chapter has been holding a variety of events on campus in order to raise awareness for the five signs of emotional suffering. Happiness week is part of the PRSSA’s “Scranton180” campaign, which was created in partnership with the Campaign to Change Direction.

Through the Scranton180 campaign, PRSSA hopes to change the stigma associated with mental illness.

The five signs of emotional suffering include personality change, which can be either sudden or gradual, agitation, meaning someone may seem uncharacteristically moody, short-tempered or unable to calm down, withdrawal, occurring when a once socially-active person begins to isolate himself or herself from other people, poor self-care or engagement in risky behavior, and feelings of hopelessness.

PRSSA’s happiness week kicked off on Monday with a pet therapy program on the Dionne Green. Students had the chance to relax and play with dogs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“I was just walking to lunch when, all of the sudden, I looked to my left, and I saw a husky,” Kathleen Kelly, a first-year nursing student, said.

“It kind of made my day because I was stressed out about midterms. To see dogs out of nowhere put a smile on my face, so it was nice.”

PRSSA had various table sits throughout the week on the second floor of the DeNaples Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Each table sit had a noteworthy event connected to it. Some events included the distribution of stickers, the distribution of cookies and guest appearances made by Iggy and a minion from the “Despicable Me” movies.

“I think it’s a really good way to get everyone involved because we’re offering things that people would like,” Katherine McVeagh, a sophomore strategic communication student who is a member of PRSSA, said.

“And I think that’s things that make people happy so that will resonate the difference between being happy and emotional suffering.”

PRSSA will conclude happiness week with an Emotional Suffering Educational Summit in the PNC Auditorium of the Loyola Science Center. This event will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday.

The event will include free Chipotle, free T-shirts, giveaways and multiple speakers who will provide stories and information on mental health and the five signs of emotional suffering. The first 50 people in attendance will be entered for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card.

The PRSSA’s happiness week is a way to promote the Campaign to Change Direction. The Campaign to Change Direction is an effort to change the way Americans view mental health, mental illness and mental wellness.

The Campaign to Change Direction encourages Americans to take care of their mental health the same way they take care of their physical health. It also emphasizes the importance of caring for the mental well-being of others, not just for oneself.

This year, Give an Hour, a nonprofit organization, is leading the Campaign to Change Direction. Give an Hour provides free mental health care to members of the military, veterans and their families.

Give an Hour provides treatment for anxiety, depression, traumatic brain injuries and other mental illnesses.

One Response to Changing direction

  1. Harold A Maio Reply

    March 9, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    Please stop telling people there is a stigma to mental illnesses. You help no one and harm many.

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