By Kennedy Dendy | Broadcast Reporter
The Baylor National Association and Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Baylor National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) collaborated on Tuesday night for a panel discussion about the effects mental health has on society.
World Mental Health Day is observed annually on Oct. 10, and the two groups aimed to bring awareness to this issue.
Cypress senior Maryse Bombito participated in the panel discussion and provided insight to the attendees about her experience and hope for students who may be struggling with something similar.
“I think it’s really important for us to destigmatize the narrative behind mental health,” Bombito said. “When we view mental health, we think of it more as an illness. We think about statistics and suffering, but we don’t think about the humans behind the statistics.”
San Antonio senior Sydney Drake said the event was designed to create a safe, open space for everyone and to inform students of the resources available through the Baylor Counseling Center.
“NPHC and NAACP wanted to host this panel to highlight mental health as an issue and as a stigma within the black community,“ Drake said. “We feel like often people don’t talk about it, because it’s taboo or we have this complex to where it seems like we need to be strong all the time.”
Lafayette, La., senior Kristen Mouton said that as a student with anxiety, the panel allowed her to learn and hear from students experiencing similar experiences.
“It’s so important that we acknowledge this that whenever we don’t talk about this, we bottle it up,” Mouton said. “We let it fester, and it’s so easy for us to let it bubble and boil over. Nothing is going to get changed unless we actively talk about it or unless we actively work on fixing it. That’s why it’s really important that we don’t stay silent about mental health.”
According to Mental Health America, over 40 million Americans have an issue concerning mental health and 56 percent of American adults with a mental illness do not receive treatment.
“You are not alone in whatever you are going through,” Bombito said. “As hard as it seems right now, there is light in your situation because you are light. There is help that will actually help you and help you heal those wounds. It might be uncomfortable in the beginning, but it’s through discomfort that we grow. This is your opportunity to grow in who you are and walk proudly and freely in your life.”
For more information about the Baylor Counseling Center, visit its website.