March 8-12 activities highlight university’s mental health supports for students
CLEVELAND (March 8, 2021) – Since the beginning of the pandemic, students served at college counseling centers are experiencing more academic distress, depression, anxiety and isolation compared to before the pandemic.
Cleveland State University has created its own Mental Health Awareness Week March 8- 12 (#here4youCSU). The week’s events and programs focus on how CSU students, faculty and staff can reach out and support each other, creating a community of care. Events were created through collaboration with CSU Student Affairs offices including the Veterans and LGBTQ+ Centers, CSU students, Trinity Cathedral and the Diocese of Ohio.
The week kicks off with Projecting Hope, a visual display projected onto the front of Trinity Cathedral, 2230 Euclid Avenue in Cleveland. With its inspiring artistic messages, Projecting Hope will light up the front of Trinity Cathedral on Monday, March 8 and can be viewed in person from 6:30 – 11 p.m.
The 3D graphic projection tells a visual story that expresses emotions associated with a person’s move from isolation (anxiety, depression) to community care (hope, calm) using silhouettes, words, light and color. The images convey solidarity in both the emotional challenges and successes of the pandemic; we may all be isolated but that doesn’t mean we are all alone. Students and staff provided input about what CSU students may need to hear or see at this time. The message was clear: you are seen, we are here for you and you are not alone.
The show will run about two minutes so that people driving or walking by will be able to experience it. The message for CSU students, Trinity members and the Cleveland community is that when we reach out for support and help, we find that we are not alone. As we connect with each other, more light and color are present in our lives.
In addition to Projecting Hope, the university is offering free mini mental health kits to CSU students. Kits include mental health resources, coping strategy ideas and self-care tools, such as a journal, stress balls, breathing techniques and more. CSU’s Mental Health Awareness Week continues with online panels and discussion for specific CSU groups – LGBTQ+, African American and military veteran students – as well as a suicide prevention training and a contest for the most “Balanced Viking.”
According to the Center for Collegiate Mental Health, worsening mental health is the most frequent effect of the pandemic. In October 2020, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio Assembly designated $395,000 to CSU from the CARES Act and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Funds to support increased demand for mental health and counseling services for students. Since then, more counselors and case managers were hired to work with CSU students; counselors were brought on to call students each week who are in quarantine to offer support; students were provided access to eight free counseling sessions with All in One Health; and new online tools for mental health were made available, including an artificial intelligence chatbot, Tess.
CSU’s Counseling Center sees approximately 1,000 students each year, seeking treatment for a range of concerns, from academic stress to more severe suicide risk and trauma. Confidential services are available 24 hours per day and are free to CSU students.
About Cleveland State University
Founded in 1964, Cleveland State University is a public research institution that provides a dynamic setting for Engaged Learning. With nearly 16,000 students, ten colleges and schools and more than 175 academic programs, CSU was again chosen for 2020 as one of America’s best universities by U.S. News & World Report. Find more information at www.csuohio.edu.