Monday, January 27

Nonprofit hosts event to promote awareness of, dialogue on mental health

A humanitarian nonprofit organization held a community outreach event Tuesday to promote mental health awareness on college campuses.

Enriching Community Health Outreach, a nonprofit organization that addresses health inequities, held Mental Health Matters Awareness Night to educate students about mental health. The event featured David Choi, a Korean-American musician, and a panel of speakers from the Westside Los Angeles branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Multiple on-campus organizations set up informational booths at the event, including the Mental Health Initiative at UCLA, Liberty in North Korea and Wazo Connect.

Lanzel Patawaran, a fourth-year psychobiology student and president of ECHO, said the event aimed to spread awareness of mental health issues among UCLA students by having experts on the topic and interactive booths present at the event.

Jessica Zeng, a third-year cognitive science student and an outreach co-director of ECHO, said depression and anxiety are very prevalent among college students, and she hopes the event will draw attention to these issues that affect her peers.

She said she also hopes the event will raise awareness of other on-campus organizations that relate to mental health by letting them table at the event.

Mimi Giang, a third-year molecular, cell and developmental biology student and an outreach co-director of ECHO, said she believes it is important to educate students on mental health because it can be easy for students to not acknowledge mental health issues.

“The college setting is such a unique one, it’s so easy to get trapped in this bubble,” Giang said.

Speakers on the panel talked about their personal experiences related to mental health and why they joined NAMI and gave information about programs within NAMI.

Karena Dawn, one of the speakers on the panel, said she got involved in NAMI because she experienced the difficulties and stigma of having a mother with schizophrenia.

For some, the panel was not as interesting as they had hoped it would be. Aven Pradhan, a third-year psychology student, said he thinks the information in the panel was too general and only reinforced surface-level information about mental health that he already knew.

“The specific program today was pretty decent,” Pradhan said. “The panel, I don’t want to be a jerk, was kind of dry.”

Alexia Diaz, a second-year bioengineering student, said she liked the event because she said she believes mental health awareness is a good cause to support.

Lisa Foo, a first-year undeclared student and member of Wazo Connect, said she believes the event could have been promoted better.

“Maybe they could have done a better job of promoting it. I only found out through my club,” Foo said. “If it wasn’t for my club, I wouldn’t have known it existed.”

Zeng said she hopes the event will encourage more students to engage in open discussions about mental health.

“We hope this creates more discussion among students,” Zeng said. “We wanted to engage more of the community.”

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  • HaroldAMaio

    —-Karena Dawn, one of the speakers on the panel, said she got involved in NAMI because she experienced the difficulties and “stigma” of having a mother with schizophrenia.

    Calling it stigma only empowers those others who do, empowers them and their language. I do not recommend doing so.

  • Risa

    Congratulations on such an excellent endeavor!

    If there is any way I can support your efforts through GenuineU, please let me know. At GenuineU, we understand that validation and compassion are crucial aspects of mental health. We help individuals who feel alone and hopeless in their suffering anonymously access support, validation, and advice through personal journey videos shared by peers with lived experience. GenuineU promotes psychological safety and decreases stigma by eliminating interactions, likes, comments, and counters. We feel strongly that good people should have an uncomplicated way to empower themselves and support others who, despite suffering, are unable or unwilling to disclose their challenges.