Selena Ponio | October 4, 2017
As students leave the library after a late night of studying, they are greeted with a slightly different version of a beloved mural: Touchdown Jesus lit up green.
This week, the Active Minds club — formerly National Alliance on Mental Illness — is hosting Irish State of MiND: Mental Illness Awareness Week with a series of events such as workshops and speakers. Junior co-president Jenna Wertsching said planning started at the end of last semester.
“The biggest thing I’m excited for is just the little things,” she said. “So seeing our posters around campus and having Touchdown Jesus green. It’s the little touches that can reach the whole student body and get everyone talking about it.”
The week starts off with three main events: a speaker Monday, a healing mass at the Grotto on Tuesday for people whose lives have been affected by mental illness and an event Wednesday titled “In Our Own Words,” where people share their stories about their own struggles with mental illness.
“I think it’s very easy to talk about mental illness as some external entity but it’s hard to talk about it as something that affects us and affects people we know,” Wertsching said.
Active Minds club officer and junior Monica Coundouriotis said she became a member of the club her freshman year because she was a psychology major and already had some initial interest in mental illnesses. [Editor’s Note: Coundouriotis is a Viewpoint copyeditor for The Observer.]
“As I became more involved in the club is when I realized how important it is and how it affects so many people, students especially,” she said. “The importance of having good mental health is huge, especially in college.”