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Don’t let the mid-semester blues get to you; there are plenty of campus resources to help you through
The Black Faculty and Staff Alliance (BFSA) hosted an open conversation for students and staff about mental health awareness, focusing on the mid-semester blues on Thursday, Oct. 21.
Center of Behavioral Health and Accessibility (CBHA) director Millicent Odhiambo and counselor Dinia Jenkins combined their expertise with the BFSA to speak about the importance of mental health, specifically during mid-semester when motivation and enthusiasm are running low.
BFSA vice chair and department chair of elementary, early & special education Shonta Smith said by week eight, many people start feeling down but might be afraid to reach out and get help. The BFSA and CBHA are promoting resources and tools for students and staff to access in their times of need.
“Sometimes when we talk about mental health, depending on the communities that you come from, it is a taboo thing to be willing to talk about,” Smith said. “We want to provide students with an opportunity to look at therapy and mental health differently.”
During mid-semester when life may start to become overwhelming, it is important to take time to step back and reevaluate each situation through building habits of self-care.
“Self-care is very important, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. It can be any and everything,” Odhiambo said. “Like taking five minutes to just breathe deeply and stay with your thoughts. Learning to be comfortable with who you are. Taking a walk. Saying no once in a while.”
The CBHA is promoting the agenda of mental health and ensuring students know there are people at SEMO who care and genuinely want them to succeed.
Employees at the CBHA understand one of the hardest parts of mental health is actually speaking with others about it, so they are implementing an easy way to have conversations with a mental health professional in a comfortable and casual setting. Let’s Talk, SEMO is a new program aimed to engage students in brief, 15- to 20-minute conversations about their mental and emotional health, with anonymity and walk-in availability.
“Being a counselor is a persistent job. It’s a job that you don’t give up on, so whenever a student finally gets it, we are there to celebrate with them,” Jenkins said. “I enjoy seeing that. When the light goes off. When a person makes a breakthrough. There is no feeling like that anywhere.”
Let’s Talk, SEMO will be held at Dobbins Center at River Campus, University Center, Towers and the Rec Center from Noon to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays and from 2 to 4 p.m. on Fridays.