Hope and Healing Through the Arts
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Campus-club “Active Minds at Westmont” will host a Hope and Healing Creative Night this Thursday, February 16th, from 7:30–9 p.m. in Page MPR.
Senior Serena Lee, President of Active Minds, is very excited about this event, and shared much about what both the club and the Creative Night is all about. “Active Minds at Westmont is a club dedicated to bringing awareness to the problem of mental illnesses and psychological struggles — especially within the Church,” says Lee. A big component of the club is to locate mental illness and struggles in faith, and figure out ways the Church can lovingly come alongside those who are hurting and bring hope.
Creative Night calls for people to share about their “stories of hope and healing” through a wide range of artistic media, from acting to songs to poetry to art and more! At this “coffee house open mic night,” guests will be able to color or create other crafts to help them de-stress, and parts of the Ahh-Men and N’STEP will perform. A therapist also will be available for conversation.
Lee believes the chance for students to realize that they are not alone is the most important part of this Creative Night, for the “one out of every four students [that] struggle with a mental health disorder.” She wants Creative Night to be a safe space for students to artistically depict their stories, and to realize that asking for help is “not shameful, but necessary.” With college students struggling similarly in ways such as anxiety and depression, she hopes that Creative Night will help students see “commonalities” between their story and the stories of those around them. Finally, Serena hopes that events like this will help “the stigma surrounding it [mental health disorder] reduce so more can receive help, share stories, and find hope and healing.”
Eric Nelson, Director of Counseling Services, says that although the Counseling Center and Active Minds are separate, the CC is partnering with Active Minds for this event (and have done so in the past). Dr. Nelson hopes that collaborating with Active Minds will help students find “thoughtful, ethical, and intentional ways to address mental health on campus.”
As for the importance of Creative Night, Dr. Nelson echoed Lee’s feelings in that he hopes that this event will show students that they are not alone in their struggles. He wants the event to help “lift the veil,” to show that “we really do not have it all together,” and hopes that students will find a stronger support base amongst their peers than they currently realize is available to them.
Dessert and coffee will be served at this event. In order to raise funds to create a better awareness of mental health around campus, there will also be $5 bracelets available for purchase. If anyone has not signed up yet who would like to share, email Lee at email@example.com to get the necessary form. Submissions are open through Wednesday, February 15th.