The pinwheels planted along the Raven Walk brought a unique awareness to the issue of mental health on the Benedictine College Campus. As an initiative supported by Benedictine College Counseling Services, Campus Ministry, and Ravens CARE, the Pinwheel Project incapsulated the mission of Mental Health Awareness Week spanning from Oct. 6-11.
Each pinwheel represents a student with a diagnosable mental illness and are colorful symbols of hope and resilience in the face of adversity.
Jennifer Schmidt, Counseling Services associate director and Ravens CARE advisor, sees resilience and hope as a primary focus for Mental Health Awareness Week.
“By having mental health awareness week so visible for everyone in our community, it is reassuring for students considering starting the counseling process but are intimidated to start,” Schmidt said.
The supporting services hosted many events throughout the week including Life Hacks for Resilience & Success Support Group, which meets weekly. This week they featured Dr. Ramsey, chair of the education department, speaking about the stigma surrounding mental illness. A blessing was said and students regularly prayed the Rosary for those affected by mental illness.
Additionally, an open mic night titled A Night of Hope was also attended by students.
Mental Health Awareness week served as a reminder to students that resources are available for their disposal and that seeking help is an act of bravery.
“It takes so much courage and strength to acknowledge that you are struggling with something so personal and painful, and the fact that you are coming in and open to this process is something to be proud of,” Schmidt said.
As a member of Ravens CARE, Brigid McCormack hopes students can support each other through open dialogue throughout the entire year.
“I hope that students are able to have conversations about mental health more easily,” McCormack said. “Erasing the stigma that surrounds mental health will only be accomplished through honest communication with others.”