Students learn to improve their health during Wellness Fair

Trisha O’Connell
Staff Writer

Both students and faculty who attended last week's Wellness Fair were provided with information on various campus services. Photo by Trisha O'Connell

Both students and faculty who attended last week’s Wellness Fair were provided with information on various campus services.

Hudson Valley students learned about health and received free condoms during last week’s Wellness Fair.

Walking through the center doors of the Siek Campus Center was overwhelming at first, but once the sight settled and the crowd shifted, the booths came into focus.

A wide range of topics were openly discussed, including hygiene, physical health, mental health and so much more. Informational papers and pamphlets were also handed out, free of charge.

One booth was all about the Dental Hygiene Clinic available for at no cost for all Hudson Valley students: no insurance, no down payment, no confusing deductible…just you and your soon-to-be pearly whites! For more information, you can visit the clinic in Fitzgibbons Health Technologies Center, Room 127.

Another booth was dedicated to sex education and addiction. The representatives spoke openly with students and were very well-informed. At this table, students could obtain things like personal lubricant, condoms (even latex-free ones) and other products to facilitate safe sex. Representatives answered all questions honestly and made casual conversation out of a stigmatized concept.

Surprisingly, the majority of the booths pertained to various types of mental health. Information about anxiety was provided, including a test to help see if what you’re feeling could be anxiety. This was a good tool for students, since diagnosis is the first step in learning to cope with mental illness.

The most startling subject to be openly discussed was suicide. The Mental Health Association of New York State promoted a class called “Mental Health First Aid. ” This class aims to spread “knowledge, awareness and respect for mental health.”

One of the flyers read, “You know what’s crazy? Stigmatizing mental illness.” It went on to include additional information, such as, “Today, one in four Americans are affected (by mental health), but two out of three never receive help.”

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) was also present. A volunteer shared that most of the people who volunteer for the AFSP all have a personal story pertaining to suicide, whether it involves themselves or someone they knew. There was a wide variety of information offered, covering topics such as getting help after a suicide, surviving a suicide attempt and how to help someone going through suicidal thoughts.

The 9th annual Race Away Stigma, sponsored by Hudson Valley, was also advertised. Registration is free for students, and the race is on Sunday, Oct. 8th. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., followed by the race at 10 a.m. Awards and snacks will start at 11 a.m.

The Wellness Fair certainly helped fight the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide, hopefully making students feel safe and comfortable enough to seek help. The Wellness Center offers more information, along with counseling and other mental health resources, throughout the entire school year. The Wellness Center is located in the Siek Campus Center, Suite 270, right next to Prime Cafe. Their hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If you or someone you know ever has thoughts of suicide, do not hesitate to call the Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

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