On Saturday, Yale Student Mental Health held its annual Mind Over Matter mental health fair, which featured booths from advocacy and performance groups.
Sarah Cook, collaborating photographer
The Yale Student Mental Health Association held its annual Mind Over Matter Fair on Cross Campus on April 15.
During the fair, students explored various booths manned by mental health advocacy groups while sitting and enjoying performances by acapella and dance groups. Performers included the a cappella groups Cadence of Yale, Mixed Company and Doox of Yale, as well as the dance group Yale Movement. Yale College Community Care, SHARE Center, Asian American Cultural Center, Alliance for Prevention and Wellness and Elis for Rachael all had booths at the event.
YSMHA co-chair Peyton Meyer ’24 told The News he was thrilled to see so many people on Cross Campus for the event.
“Any time we’re able to facilitate even one new conversation about mental health, that’s a win,” Meyer wrote in an email to The News.
Meyer added that after the event, the students seemed to enjoy being able to browse the booths and grab a bite to eat while enjoying the performances.
Ben Swinchoski ’24, one of the YSMHA members who helped organize the event, also said he hopes the fair will expose students to different groups, raise awareness about mental health and promote ways to prioritize mental health through performance.
“I hope students are exposed to different ways that different groups intersect with mental health awareness and get a peek into the ways we promote the ways they can prioritize their mental health the rest of the semester,” Swinchoski said.
Mental health advocacy group Elis for Rachael’s booth featured a wheel that attendees could spin to learn about different options for supporting mental health on campus. They also included a quick board where people could submit suggestions on what could be improved in Yale’s mental health services.
Elis for Rachael’s booth also included a television, which showed captioned testimonials from former students about their mental health experiences at Yale. Their booth also featured clippings of articles about recent changes to sick leave and cards featuring stories of specific alumni experiences.
The group also included links to a new survey of mental health experiences at Yale, as well as an interest form for the new mental health peer liaison program.
While organizing the event, Meyer said connecting with community partners took a lot of email, but they were excited to have both booths and performers for the fair. He said the performances were a great way to build excitement and show attendees that mental health is “not something that should be stigmatized or hidden away,” drawing in students who might not otherwise be engaged in conversations about mental health.
Another booth included representatives from the Alliance for Prevention and Wellbeing, a BH care program, a community behavioral health clinic focused on mental health awareness and suicide prevention. The group also provides mental health first aid training, as well as emergency mental health training known as QPR training.
“I’m so glad we’re here to serve the Yale community,” said Taylor Gainey, regional suicide advisory council coordinator for the Alliance for Prevention and Wellbeing. “We want to let students know that in addition to mental health services on campus, we are also here.
Additionally, the Asian American Cultural Center hosted a booth with space to paint posters and the ability to display sticky notes answering the question, “How have you felt supported lately?”
Sunehra Subah ’24, a member of AACC’s Wellness and Mental Health team, said her team hopes to emphasize that students should take the time they need to rest. She added that they also often focus on the intersection of mental health and Asian identity.
“When we talk about identity, especially as racialized bodies, we talk a lot about coping with trauma or hurt or pain, and I think that’s a really good conversation, but there’s also so much happy to be Asian,” Subah told the News. “Asinanness is not just about doing harm.”
Yale Mental Health and Counseling’s central office is located on the third floor of the Yale Health building at 55 Lock St.