The Department of Resident Life at UMD hosted its second annual Terps Take Care Fair on Oct. 3 to encourage a stronger dialogue about mental health awareness on campus.
The interactive fair, held at Hornbake Plaza, welcomed anyone from the campus and surrounding community to come out to show their support and de-stigmatize student mental health.
“We have a lot of resources here for people to learn about but I think the real focus is how you can be taking care of yourself all the time before you get to a place where you even need some of these professional resources,” said Leslie Krafft, the Residential Case Manager for Resident Life.
Krafft’s position focuses specifically on mental health support and follow-up help for students that may be struggling.
Representatives from local yoga studios and massage parlors, therapy dogs from the health center and a number of campus departments and student organizations were all present at the fair to facilitate interactive activities dedicated to gratitude and stress-relief.
In addition, there was a guided meditation session and free acupuncture for attendants to participate in.
Roxy Kazem, a junior double major in finance and information systems, is the co-president of Scholars Promoting and Revitalizing Care (SPARC) at UMD. She explained that their organization’s objective is to promote the well being of everyone in the community. They have a long-standing partnership with the Department of Resident Life to promote mental health resources on campus.
“We do mental health advocacy, so today we’re doing bubble painting to be on par with the theme of de-stressing and just having fun,” she said.
The fair helped shed light on existing on-campus resources that many students may have not known about previously because of the stigma surrounding mental health conversation.
According to Krafft, services such as Recreation and Wellness, the counseling center, the psychology clinic, and student support programs all offer positive coping strategies for students struggling with mental health.
Krafft continued to explain that the UMD community can improve mental health education by starting a conversation.
She said: “I think people should know they aren’t going to be judged harshly. If people can be open to sharing what they’re going through and if others are supportive of that then I think it would be a lot easier overall for people to seek the resources that they need.
“We need more resources and funding and to work together across all departments. This kind of event really promotes that.”
Mental health education is an important aspect of the Department of Resident Life ’s overall objective, along with many organizations and departments at UMD. The Terps Take Care Fair was successful in connecting all of these resources to make them readily available to students seeking them.
Mental health awareness is a growing dialogue among the UMD community thanks to the help of those willing to the start the conversation.