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SMAC hosts Mental Health Day at Spirit Park


The Southern Miss Activities Council held its first Mental Health Day of the semester on Sept.13. The event was held at Spirit Park. Members of SMAC set up tables where they encouraged students to take time for self-care. And there were care boxes, snacks, music, and chalk drawing.
SMAC Events Director, Brishell Gray said that the event was a way to highlight the hidden aspects of student life. A 2022 survey from the American College Health Association found that 77% of college students experienced moderate to severe mental health issues. Depression and anxiety disorders were the most popular mental health diagnoses. And there are many factors that contribute to the uptick in mental health concerns. Academic pressure, loneliness, and discrimination are just a few examples.
“If we’re stressed and super anxious, we can’t go complete those tests and perform at our best,” Gray said. “So having that mental outlet somewhere – working out, coming to SMAC events – if that’s your cue, do it because your mind needs that break to recuperate.”
When asked about the importance of caring for one’s mental health, Membership Director D’yana Bolden expressed the importance of self-care.
“Because I think it’s very important to take care of yourself. I know sometimes we get caught up with life and, you know, getting caught up with the day-to-day things we have to do,” she said. “And sometimes we just have to take a step back and breathe and really get ourselves together.”
The care boxes contained goodies from Student Counseling Services and other departments. There were bubbles, a stress ball, a fidget toy, a bookmark, a miniature notebook, and a guide on healthy living.
On the day of the event, SMAC passed out chalk to students so they could draw on the nearby sidewalk. Messages such as “beYOUtiful” and “SMAC Mental Health” decorated the walkway into the Cochran Center. Music boomed through the speakers as SMAC members encouraged students to stop by and take a few minutes to pause with them.
Visit to find more information and resources on managing mental health.

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