In an environment of high achievers, University of Pennsylvania students can be so intensely focused on achieving excellence in everything they do that they don’t realize that their mental health also needs some attention.
During Mental Wellness week, until April 5, the University is holding a series of "Deconstruct the Penn Face" events and activities designed to help raise awareness of mental-health issues on campus and to help students feel more comfortable discussing their concerns.
“What we’re really hoping,” said Meeta Kumar, associate director of counseling and psychological services, “is for students to deconstruct their Penn face and encourage more honest conversation, and talk about the range of difficulty they encounter as really a part of life and normal range of experiences that we all have.”
The Asian Pacific Student Coalition initiated the first Mental Wellness Week in 2011. The sessions cover what its like to be a minority student at Penn as well as some of the academic, social and cultural challenges that minority communities experience.
“Not all students are experiencing the successes that their peers are experiencing, and it can feel isolating and even debilitating,” Kumar said.
The sessions, run by student groups and CAPS, include topics such as how to deal with identity issues, having healthy relationships, studying and stress management tips and ways to de-stress.
On Friday, April 5, students can find outlets for reducing stress by participating in activities such as dance workouts, massages, petting puppies or doing arts and crafts.