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College hosts Mental Health Week

During the week of Feb. 27­–March 2, 2012, a variety of events will be held at Penn State Berks in recognition of Mental Health Week.

The main event is the “Alive! Mental Health Fair,” featuring H. Reese Butler II, founder and president of Kristin Brooks Hope Center and the National Hopeline Network, 1-800-SUICIDE, which will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 28, from 11 a.m.­–3 p.m. in the Perkins Student Center Multipurpose Room. This event is free and open to the public.

Butler will give a presentation at 5 p.m. in the Perkins Student Center Auditorium. He will discuss his life experiences that led to his creation of both the Kristin Brooks Hope Center and the National Hopeline Network after the loss of his wife to suicide in 1998. Naming the center after his wife, Butler went on to create thirteen separate programs within the center, and in 2005, he was recognized with an award by the National Mental Health Association.

The “Alive! Mental Health Fair” will also include displays and documentaries, and students can participate in a graffiti art therapy project that will later be displayed in the Perkins Student Center. Mental health related agencies from Berks County will be available to answer questions and students will have the opportunity to participate in free CPR Suicide Prevention Training.

The documentaries will be aired at 11:15 a.m. (Bullied) and 2 p.m. (A Reason to Live). QPR Training (how to question, persuade, and refer someone suicidal) at 1 p.m. The second half of the event features an hour-long yoga session at 3 p.m. and a zen garden project from 4-5 p.m. The graffiti art therapy project can be completed at any time during the fair hours. The event will conclude with the keynote speech by H. Reese Butler at 5 p.m.

The “Alive! Mental Health Fair” is part of the Arts and Lecture series. For more information, contact the Office of Campus Life at 610-396-6076.

In addition to the “Alive! Mental Health Fair,” there are several other events that will be held throughout the week. On Monday, Feb. 27, there will be a presentation by the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Berks County, entitled “In Our Own Voices” from 12:30-2:00 p.m., in room 101, Franco Building. 

There will be two showings of the movie, Hell and Back Again, about a soldier who returns from Afghanistan and is struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The screenings will both be held on Wednesday, Feb. 29; one at 12 p.m. in room 5, Luerssen Building, and the second at 6:30 p.m. in room 109, Franco Building.

The week’s events will culminate on Thursday, March 1, with a panel discussion with Berks Applied Psychology students at 3 p.m. in room 5, Luerssen Building. The students will describe their internship experiences in the mental health field. At 6:30 p.m. that evening, Dr. Eric Lindsey, Associate Professor of Psychology, will present “Mental Health of Sexual Minority Youth,” in which he will discuss the unique mental health challenges faced by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth.

Students are also invited to visit the Mental Health Awareness Table in the Perkins Student Center Lobby from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. each day during the week of Feb. 27–March 2. Brochures and information on mental health issues relevant to the college students will be available. In addition, t-shirts will be on sale to benefit the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Berks County.

For more information on the activities during the Mental Health Week, contact Lindsey at EWL10@psu.edu

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