Student Mental Health Advocates, has been at the University of Oregon since 2011. We have created, hosted, and cooperated on several projects.
Below are the events the S.M.H.A has pledge to continue year after year. While we may have new events every year these are the events that got us to where we are today!
*Please note, this is a description of the events, to find out when they are happening during this year (click here)
Stomp out the Stigma, our longest and oldest running event at the University of Oregon! This event has evolved since we decided to create an event here on our campus a display that helps put into perspective and honors the 1,100 student lives lost to suicide each year. Below are the displays that have occurred on our campus and you can count that this event shall continue every year during the month of May as part of Mental Health Awareness Month!
In 2011 to 2012 school year we hosted the first display at the EMU Amphitheater for an entire week in May. It took UO SMHA a year but we collected shoes from across campus, from students, faculty, staff, community members anyone who wanted to donate their shoes was welcomed! In the end, we collected enough shoes to create our STOMP out the Stigma event. The 1,100 shoes collected symbolized the lives lost to suicide this powerful display became an event that we until this day continue to put on.
2012 to 2013
UO SMHA spent the first month of Mental Health Awareness on our campus asking the University of Oregon community,
what would you say to a loved one contemplating suicide? We provided art materials such as pens, markers, crayons, and paper and collected these messages of hope, love, and support. For two weeks we would get up early in the morning and put the messages up and at night took them down. We collected over 600 messages from our campus, and it became a staple of our organization that we continued this display for 2013 to 2014. The executive team decided that every display shall be more than a display and for the following years, laminated 11x 17 pieces of paper each had resource numbers as well as statistics relating to mental health.
2014 to 2015
UO SMHA wanted to do something bigger and something new, we still collected the messages and images that people shared and displayed them during winter term in an Art Gallery at the EMU. However, for the month of May, SMHA created a new interactive Art Display with green flags across from Lillis.
The display was simple we staked flags in the shape of the Oregon "O" with our name UO SMHA spelled out. 1,100 flags also representing the lives lost to suicide each year. The interactive component, however, was the same as how we started:
We invited the community to pick up a flag, and use the sharpies provided to and write on the flag answering the question, "what would you say to a loved one contemplating suicide."
The art display was a huge success! Local news took notice and we gained some attention from more than just our community on campus. This event was powerful enough that we decided to redo it once more from 2015 to 2016 and then finally from 2016 to 2017.
2017 to 2018
What is difficult is to keep people interest in the displays, year after year. With more organizations taking notice of displays involving flags more student groups use them to convey a message. The executive team this year wanted to do something different, It still used the same flags we have used in the past year, we took out the component involving participation from our community asking people to answer the question. Instead, we also included Pinwheels, colorful pinwheels that spun as the wind blew past them and their colors were brightened as the sun peeked from behind the clouds. The message and symbolism were the same as a suicide prevention display for all to see and surrounding the display were the statistics that we have had year after year, updated of course with new information.
What the executive team decided was that a banner was needed and one was designed and ordered ready for next years display!
2018 to 2019
Stomp out the Stigma
The Awkward Social is our longest recurring event and is the first official event we hosted as an ASUO recognized group. Created in 2012 the Awkward Social was designed to bring students and the mental health community together at the University of Oregon. While the theme of the event changes with every executive board the overall event stays the same.
To provide a safe space for students to come together, ask questions, support one another, and have fun.
To bring in community resources, campus resources, and student groups to the attention of the overall student body to promote positive mental health.
To raise awareness of the commonality of mental health on campus, and to demonstrate to those suffering that they don't have to suffer alone and that there is help!
The Awkward Social has solidified our presence on campus, as we have come to be the only student organization promoting mental health. We work together along with many other groups to raise awareness and to remove the stigma associated with mental health.