UMB’s Wellness Hub and the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists are co-leading Healthy Selfie Week from Oct. 7-11.
A study from Nature Biotechnology found that graduate students worldwide were six times more likely to experience mental health issues than the average American. The work-life balance of graduate students plays a major role, with many students dedicating long hours to their academic studies on top of stressors such as finances, the changing workforce, and personal relationships. Out of the 2,279 graduate students surveyed, 41 percent faced anxiety and 39 percent were depressed. Students who reported that they had an unhealthy work-life balance had higher rates of anxiety and depression.
Anxiety is the persistent and excessive worry about many different things (National Institute of Mental Health, 2019). Depression is a serious mood disorder that causes severe symptoms that can affect how you think feel and handle daily activities (National Institute of Mental Health, 2019). Some symptoms include persistent sadness, feelings of hopelessness, irritability, and more. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety is highly treatable yet only 40 percent of adults seek treatment. Women suffer from depression more than men, but men who suffer from depression often don’t realize they are depressed and don’t seek help. Additionally, stigma can play a major role in mental health issues. Stigma from others can affect whether a person seeks treatment, seeks support from their loved ones, and can create self-doubt of getting better within themselves.
The authors of the study suggest that a shift in the culture of academia and eliminating the stigma around mental health issues may encourage more students to speak to their advisors about what they’re going through and seek the help they need to be successful students. Additionally, the authors suggest faculty and staff should be trained on how to recognize and respond to students’ needs. With training, they can refer them to the appropriate health services so students get the care they need to thrive in school.
In the fight against mental health stigma, the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) is sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Baltimore Metropolitan Affiliate, an organization that educates communities about mental illness, shapes public policy in regard to mental health in all states, and leads public service events to fight stigma and encourage understanding.
Here at UMB, we are in the fight for mental health awareness, and Healthy Selfie Week is doing just that.
What’s Coming Up
The Wellness Hub, a department in the division of Campus Life Services, in partnership with the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP), is co-leading Healthy Selfie Week from Oct. 7-11, 2019. We are focused on bringing you a week of events that support your mental well-being and eliminate stigma about mental health illness. We will be kicking off the week with Stomping Out Stigma!, which focuses on stigma and quick facts on substance use, and Drop-in Meditation to help quiet your mind and reduce your stress. You can join us for a variety of events, including How to Assist Students in Distress, where our faculty and staff are trained to better support students on the UMB campus, a powerful presentation providing real-life testimonies from graduate students and young professionals who are living and thriving with anxiety, a photobooth for Picture and Video Day, and A Day Without Headphones as we take our fun to the School of Nursing Lawn with music, lawn games, giveaways, and healthy snacks to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Resources and more information on how you can take care of yourself throughout the semester will be available.
All the events are FREE to attend for the UMB community. Need an incentive to join us? If you attend three events, you will receive a free meal from CulinArt and a Wellness Hub T-shirt!
Thoughts on Mental Health with Shila Mortazavi, Co-Lead of Healthy Selfie Week
Shila Mortazavi is the chair of Maryland regional operations committee of the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacist (APhA-ASP). The focus of the committee is to address public health issues pertaining to Baltimore and Maryland. Every year, it picks a topic to focus on. Last year, it selected mental health awareness, and this year it has picked homelessness but is still supporting NAMI Metropolitan Baltimore as it brings its #IWillListen Campaign to UMB.
Like many other students, Shila thinks that mental health is important, and when asked the question about the culture of mental health on the UMB campus, this was her response:
“It’s very overlooked and yes even though we’re at a time where a lot of that stigma has been eradicated, it still exists. Even though we tell our loved ones, ‘Oh are you OK? You should see counseling,’ do we ourselves go and get counseling? I think that everyone should receive counseling and go to a therapist. I think that it’s not just for someone not feeling well to go do. I think starting in middle school people should take part because it really helps you kind of get to know yourself more. It can help you know what your weaknesses are, your strengths, how you interact with others, and how that makes you feel or makes you act later with yourself or others. So I think that it’s something in the health care system that there is a lot of openings for improvement, especially with access to care as well. Overall, I think that mental health is just as crucial as physical health, if not more at times.”
Healthy Selfie Week couldn’t be possible without the help and participation of so many great organizations and student services on the UMB campus. A big thank you to all the student organizations that have supported and are participating in Healthy Selfie Week, including Community Health Addictions Team, Scholars for Recovery, Students United for Policy, Education, and Research), and UMB’s NAMI. And thank you to all of our student services for your support, including CulinArt, the Student Counseling Center, and URecFit.
Let’s Continue the Conversation
The conversation about mental health is growing. More research is being conducted about its importance and more people are focused on breaking down the negative stigmas associated with mental health. UMB as a campus is taking strides to address mental health stigma by promoting events that support mental health awareness. As students, we must protect our own mental health and take the necessary steps if we start to feel depressed or have anxiety. Your mental health is a priority, so treat it like one.
For more information on Healthy Selfie Week, visit the link below.
Anxiety Disorders. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml
Depression. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml