Psi Chi hosts mental health fair


Erik Rotness

Psi Chi hosted a mental health fair in 2019 to raise awareness of mental health issues and resources on campus

By Kaisa Siipola, Reporter

With the sun shining once again and the snow melted away, let’s spring into spring quarter by gaining an awareness of mental health.

Psi Chi is hosting a Mental Health Awareness Fair in the campus mall from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 17 to address the importance of mental health to the EWU community.

“By starting to do events like this, we can also destigmatize the issue and increase help seeking,” said Tricia Hughes, senior director of wellness and recreation programs.

Mental health is a concern on campus and nationally as a whole, according to Hughes.

“When we look at our National College Health Assessment data from last spring, we see that mental health concerns with our students continue to increase as it does nationally,” Hughes said. “We are not an outlier as a university.”

…they don’t think anyone else is going through what they’re going through, and that’s not true.”

— Tricia Hughes, Senior Director of Wellness and Recreation Programs

Who’s gonna be there?

Booths such as National Alliance on Mental Illness, Lutheran Community Services Northwest, CHAS Health, Frontier Behavioral Health, ASEWU, Health and Wellness and Prevention Services, EWU psychology department, Psi Chi and CAPS will have various resources and information on mental health at the fair.

Kristina Poffenroth from LCSNW Spokane will speak from  11:30 a.m. to noon about sexual assault awareness, sexual assault resources, her agency’s services, and how to support survivors of sexual assault, according to Psi Chi club President Brandy Hutton.

Additional speakers will include  Ron Anderson from NAMI Spokane who will speak from noon to 1 p.m. about NAMI, its on campus extension and stigma busting. A speaker from CAPS, who is still to be determined, will present on the connection between loneliness, social disconnection and mental health, according to psychological counselor and outreach coordinator Maureen Nickerson.


Coping with stress

EWU senior Rebecca Abercrombie said that she copes with stress by attempting to exercise at the gym five days a week, and she likes to be outside.

“I get in my planner and I plan everything out that I need to do and find an order in which way I need to do it,” EWU senior Kassi Sorenson said. “Or I spend a day to myself, by stepping away that I need to do, relax and then go on it head on.”

EWU junior Maggie Walker practices self care by surrounding herself with a good group of people that provide positive influences. Walker also likes to read, draw, write and do things that allow her to step back from stressors.  

Mental health to Hughes means the ability to function well in your daily life, academic life, social life and have resilience in order to get through stressful times.

Mental health to Hutton is being able to follow your goals and striving to follow the path you’re on while continuing to be healthy by ensuring that you understand your limits and take time to yourself.

Hughes and Hutton hope that students gain an understanding of mental health, acknowledge that they’re not alone and that there are resources that are available to them and to not feel like they can’t seek help.

“As students, we tend to think that we have to cope with tough conflicts alone and that isn’t the case,” Hughes said.

“I think a lot of our students can often feel that they’re (the) only ones going through something and sometimes they come to college, they feel alone or isolated because they don’t think anyone else is going through what they’re going through, and that’s not true,” Hughes said.

Hutton will be accepting speakers until the time slots are filled up and booths without limitations until April 10. Anyone that is interested in speaking or tabling at the fair can contact Hutton at [email protected]

“There’s a lot of people who feel the same way that they do but we don’t make space to talk about that and so hopefully by continuing to bring awareness to mental health we’re able to let students know that and offer them resources,” Hughes said.