Students raised their voices in poetry, song and stories all in the name of mental health promotion last night. Step Forward, an event sponsored by Active Minds, To Write Love On Her Arms and the First Year Experience featured performances by Spit That! and IC Voicestream from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in IC Square.
Freshman Danielle West, who helped organize the event, said the goal was to encourage students to use the Counseling Center and other outlets on campus.
West, along with other Active Minds members, read from anonymous stories written by people with issues pertaining to mental health. She said the event was a success in showing participants that counseling help is available and necessary for people who need it.
“We got our message across and everyone understood, even if they weren’t here for the event,” she said.
Each group involved with the event contributed to the overall message of mental health awareness. Spit That!, a spoken word performance group on campus, performed pieces that related to dealing with depression and social stigmas in the media, while IC Voicestream sang from their repertoire of music, including a Lady Gaga montage.
Liz Berube, a member of IC Voicestream, said she did not know much about the event before the group was invited to perform, but was happy to have participated.
“I’m glad that [Danielle] organized this event because it’s definitely an important cause,” she said.
Junior Lindsey Quinn, a representative for Active Minds, said Step Forward worked in tune with the group’s purpose.
“Helping to get out events that make it ok to talk about mental health [is a goal of Active Minds],”she said. “This is definitely one of those events.”
Some attendees came to support friends who deal with mental health problems and others came to educate themselves on mental health issues.
Freshman Nate Harnett, a psychology major, said he was there to support his classmates in Active Minds.
“The purpose of Active Minds is stomping out the stigma, which I whole heartedly support,” he said. “I feel that if they can teach me something I didn’t know before, that makes it worthwhile.”