VCU to host mental health fair

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia Commonwealth University will host a mental health awareness event, called “Alive! Mental Health Fair.”

The fair is set to take place on September 16 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the University Student Commons Plaza, 907 Floyd Avenue.

The event, in recognition of September being National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, will feature an interactive graffiti board, a PostSecret-style postcard station, and an exhibit of brain images displaying brains impacted by mental illness.

“The purpose of the event is to promote suicide awareness and prevention,” said Engin Ege, Ph.D., a staff psychologist at University Counseling Services. “We want to let students know that there are resources and VCU is here for them.”

Students at the event will be invited to write supportive messages to one another on the graffiti board, which will be displayed year-round outside the counseling center on the Monroe Park Campus.

“It serves as a creative expression of hope on campus,” Ege said. “Alive! Mental Health Fair” will also feature prizes, T-shirts, giveaways, and pizza.

“For VCU students there may be a moment of turmoil as they adjust to being back on campus or coming to a new campus,” Ege said. “Many things come together that can add to students’ distress levels in September.”

University Counseling Services provides psychotherapy for individuals, couples, and groups as well as referral services to programs and providers outside the university.

“We are a free and confidential resource for students,” Ege said. “If anyone is struggling with mental health concerns, feeling stressed or distressed, we meet with them and try to figure out the best solution moving forward.”

Therapists from University Counseling Services will be present at the event, as well as representatives from the Wellness Resource Center.

“We are trying to have a campus conversation about the resources that are out there,” Ege said.

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