KNOXVILLE — Taking care of our mental health is just as important as keeping our bodies fit. For college students, not paying attention to mental health issues could interfere with studies, work and personal lives.
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the Knoxville chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) are teaming up to help spread the message about mental health awareness, wellness and suicide prevention. VolAware is UT’s mental health awareness campaign.
There are two events for the community and college students.
– Stomp Out Stigma — a free concert sponsored by NAMI in partnership with VolAware, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 2, on Market Square in Downtown Knoxville. The featured act is JayStorm in concert with Jackson Mohr. There also will be a step contest, shopping, food, door prizes and free goodies. Learn about common stressors, triggers and where to get help.
– VolAware Street Fair — games and activities such as mental health “Jeopardy!” and the inner child play center and booths staffed by mental health, wellness and professional development organizations, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 7, University Center Plaza. There also will be QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) training sessions, mental health screenings, a yoga class, Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) demonstrations and a workshop on “What Can I Do with a Major in the Helping Professions?”
The VolAware Street Fair is hosted by the UT Counseling Center and the Safety, Environment and Education (SEE) Center. UT faculty, staff and students helped plan the events. Head football coach Phillip Fulmer appeared on advertisements for the event on WBIR. Fulmer is the national spokesman for The Jason Foundation, a youth suicide prevention organization based in Hendersonville.
There are a variety of resources available on campus for students, faculty and staff as part of VolAware.
The Counseling Center offers free and confidential counseling for individuals, couples and groups. The Dean of Students Office acts as a clearinghouse for students to connect with services on campus, and a case manager is available to help students. The university has provided faculty and staff with a protocol to help distressed students. Faculty, staff and students can call 974-HELP to report concerns about someone else.
For more information and a full schedule of events, go to http://volaware.utk.edu/.
Elizabeth Davis, UT media relations, (865) 974-5179, firstname.lastname@example.org
Connie Briscoe, UT Counseling Center, (865) 974-2196, email@example.com