Campaign to boost health with puppies

RACE Public Relations, a group consisting of four Southern Miss public relations seniors, are working with the USM Student Counseling Services for a semester-long PR campaign to promote mental wellness among the student body.

“Though their research the campaigns class has discovered that many students are not aware of the center and don’t know that they provide professional and confidential services at no cost to students,” said Vanessa Murphree, associate professor and graduate coordinator. “They are also working to address the reluctance that some students have about seeing a professional counselor.”

The group will partner with Southern Pines Animal Shelter and reach out to students during two events. They aim to bring awareness to the Student Counseling Services free counseling sessions and inform students how to love their minds as much as they love puppies.

The first event will take place at 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 4 at Shoemaker Square. RACE PR will set up a tent with Southern Pines so that students may brighten their day and mind by interacting with puppies. The second event will be held 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 6 at Kennard-Washington Hall on the Hattiesburg campus.

The students will begin a Mindfulness March with signs that read “Making strides against stigmas.” The march will travel through campus with the hopes to reduce the negative stigmas that are associated with mental illness and health.

“We want to raise awareness of the Student Counseling Services and identify the SCS as the center for students,” said Jamie Gominger, a senior public relations major. “We also want to reduce the stigma that often comes with mental health. By reducing the stigma of mental health, we hope for students to take advantage of the free services at the SCS.”

Through the events, RACE PR hopes to bring attention to problems such as stress, depression and anxiety that are becoming predominant in college students.

“The Student Counseling Services is the place for students,” Gominger said. “It’s a place for them to come and talk openly and judgement-free about life. The sessions are free, so there’s nothing to lose. Our key message is love your mind because we want students to do just that. Love your mind enough to reach out. Love your mind enough to have a healthy, positive college experience.”