By Rider Farris | Reporter
Baylor’s NAACP chapter will volunteer Friday at Indian Spring Middle School and host a poetry club for the kids as the conclusion to the weeklong mental health Self-Care Week the organization has been hosting. The National Alliance on Mental Illness will do a brief presentation on mental illness there as well. All Baylor students are encouraged to attend.
The volunteer event concludes a week-long push to bring awareness to mental health issues through various events. Tuesday, the NAACP held a Yoga Night event where students could learn about the practice and Wednesday, the NAACP held a Mental Health in Hip Hop Forum where students could learn about the links between the art form and stress relief.
Dallas junior Kristen Williams, president of Baylor NAACP, said the week was designed to bring mental health issues out into the spotlight.
“Mental health is very looked down upon, especially in the African-American communities and black communities,” Williams said. “So we wanted to shine a brighter light on mental health and show that mental health is very important — very prominent — in all of our communities and that it shouldn’t have a negative connotation with it.”
This is the first year Self-Care Week has been held, although Baylor’s NAACP usually holds a health fair during Christmas on Fifth. The NAACP’s health committee began planning the event at the beginning of the semester and decided a week would be more beneficial than a single event. Longview sophomore Kierra Batiste, chair of the NAACP’s health committee, said she was eager to be hosting the week because of its important message.
“Self-care weeks are important, especially as college students, because we become so busy and stressed that we often forget to take time to ourselves and regroup, which could really make a difference and help with our performance,” Batiste said.
The purpose of Self-Care Week was to not only bring the issue of mental health to light, but also to provide students who may be struggling or suffering through things with tactics to implement into their lives to help ease their minds.
“The main goal is to not just continue to have conversations about mental health, but to actively be able to implement techniques that people can do on a daily basis to improve their mental health,” Williams said. “So, we wanted to really open up that conversation with not only our community — the Baylor community — but Waco and youth in general.”