Walking to QuikTrip and back, Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) walked for Mental Health Awareness Week on Friday, Oct. 4, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. The walk was a true test of the power of the few participants.
Sophomore Kenyatta Nyirenda, vice president of the Alpha Phi Alpha chapter, said that he came up with the idea of PTK participating in the Mental Health Awareness Week.
“I was just going through things personally, and I felt the need to reach out to somebody and chat,” Nyirenda said. “Just find better ways to cope with my emotions because I was feeling depressed. I was feeling anxious about certain things, so I looked into meditating. I started meditating into the summer. That is why I told Andrea [Eidman, coordinator of Student Involvement], about having a mental health week. She said, ‘That sounds like a really great idea and to have someone come and talk to the students here.’”
While walking, the participants talked about the problems they have in their lives and what can be done to combat their challenges. Some tips were even as simple as talking to someone on a walk, just to expel personal thoughts out in the open and then together decide how to move forward.
“We want people to understand that mental health is as important as normal health,” Guilherme Berbel, sophomore mass communications major and vice president of the Alpha Phi Alpha chapter, said. “When you have the flu, for example, you go see a doctor or you get a shot, so you get better. When something is wrong mentally, you would need help as well, professional help as well. We are just trying to spread that awareness, so people can actually not be scared of it, have encouragement and see other people do the same thing too, so it is okay to go through that.”
Counselor Nancy Hamm is available for students and staff to talk with, free of charge. Hamm can be contacted at 316-322-3162, 316-733-3162 or her email email@example.com to talk or schedule appointments. If immediate attention is necessary, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 1-800-273-8255.