Montgomery College students focused on mental health and suicide prevention awareness in between classes on October 10, a.k.a. World Mental Health Day. More than 700 attended the Mental Health Fair at Rockville Campus, which featured 10 interactive stations focused on stress-relief and communication, including Mental Health Fact or Fiction, a graffiti board, and Share a Secret, provided by vendor I’m Alive (imalive.org). Additionally, partner organizations shared information about the mental health resources available to students and community members in Montgomery County.
During the four-hour event, 360 students completed a ‘passport’ (outcome card), by visiting at least 6 stations. Program cards prompted students to answer several questions:
- What are some ways a person can cope with stress?
- What can cause a person to start thinking of suicide?
- Name two warning signs that may mean a person is considering suicide?
- Name an MC faculty or staff member who you trust and you could reach out to for help if you (or another student) were having thoughts of suicide. (Students who could not identify anyone were immediately introduced to a counselor on the Rockville Campus.)
By day’s end, the final station had served up 90 pizzas purchased by the Rockville Dean’s Office through Metz Catering. A total of 55 volunteers facilitated the event, consisting of students, faculty, staff, and administrators from all parts of the Rockville Campus, as well as volunteers from the Takoma Park/Silver Spring and Germantown campuses.
“The atmosphere was supportive, encouraging, and filled with courageous conversations. It did my heart good to see so many people volunteering and committed to talking about mental health. I am so inspired by the stories shared by students and the strength everyone showed each other today,” said Katherine Goldstein, counselor and assistant professor counseling and advising-Rockville Campus.
The event was a collaboration of Rockville Campus Council, Rockville Student Life, Rockville Counseling and Advising, Student Health and Wellness Center, Montgomery County Crisis Center, Montgomery County VASAP, and the Student Art League. “This was by far the most meaningful event I have been part of at MC,” Goldstein said. “We look forward to making this an annual tradition.”
The next Mental Health Fair for MC students and faculty will be held November 26 at the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Montgomery College Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus 7600 Takoma Ave., Takoma Park, MD