By Savannah Swix
Entirely East Lansing
On March 17, the East Lansing City Council agreed to a resolution recognizing March 30 to April 3 as Mental Health Awareness Week in partnership with the Associated Students of Michigan State University.
Community Liaison Bryn Williams and Chief of Staff Kiran Samra represented the undergraduate student government association at Tuesday night’s city council meeting. The duo shared their ideas for the event with a multimedia presentation.
“To bring it to the forefront in the East Lansing community means a lot to me,” said Williams. “I know it’s going to be helping people down the line in terms of getting help if they need it and getting it spread throughout the community is just another way we can bridge the gap between the two sides of Grand River.”
The presentation listed these goals of Mental Health Awareness Week:
– Promote awareness throughout the community.
– Release the stigma about mental health.
– Unify efforts to address mental health.
– Provide the framework for years to come.
This year will be the second time that the student organization has planned the event, however, it’s the first time it has formally invited the participation of the city.
“We are continuing to find new ways to expand the week to grow its success,” Samra wrote in an email. “Last year, as well as this year, we are working with many other student groups to bring more ideas and foster more collaboration throughout campus.”
Williams and Samra reviewed the week’s agenda and scheduled activities including yoga, Zumba, a nap at Michigan State University’s Abrams Planetarium and more.
Mayor Nathan Triplett, Mayor Pro Tem Diane Goddeeris and Councilwoman Kathleen Boyle received the presentation.
“We’ve done breast cancer awareness, we’ve done this and I think the more we bring out health issues to the average citizen, then they start talking, and talking really helps others,” said Goddeeris. “(The Associated Students of Michigan State University) has kicked in on mental health awareness in a way that’s never been done before and I say it’s a really positive impact.”
Williams said that gaining the support of the City of East Lansing for Mental Health Awareness Week is only the foundation for how the student organization intends to continue to grow the event.
“Being able to get the city’s involvement means the world both to the organization and to me personally,” said Williams. “We’re only going to expand from here, there’s no chance of us ever shrinking this event down. It’s just a matter of making it more efficient, streamlining our efforts and making it as expansive as possible.”