Recently, Western Carolina University’s SGA and Out of the Darkness, a campus organization dedicated to suicide awareness and prevention partnered together with Dana Cea, a mental health and suicide prevention advocate from Eastern Carolina University to bring a Whee Talk on Mental Health to students via Zoom.
The Whee Talk was available to all students at Western Carolina through WCU Engage, and over 40 students and staff members participated in the group talk. Dana Cea and Carleigh Ballard, President of the WCU Out of the Darkness chapter, led the discussion on mental health during COVID-19.
The Zoom meeting started off with exercises meant to destress and calm students and then moved forward into discussions. Dana Cea led discussions on mental health topics such as, pandemic mental health problems, pandemic positives, and reality checks. During the discussions, students attending were encouraged to think of responses to the discussions presented and were then placed in Breakout Rooms on Zoom, in which they could discuss their responses with small groups of other students.
From there, the discussions were brought full circle and anyone who wanted to speak on their responses were allowed to unmute and bring forward discussions. Several students spoke on their concerns for mental well-being during the pandemic, and others talked of the pandemic positives they had, such as forming more meaningful relationships with those that they aren’t seeing every day.
Dana Cea referenced a website called The Mighty during her time leading the discussion and encouraged students to check out the website for more information and instances of keeping up mental well-being during the course of the pandemic.
The talk concluded after each topic was thoroughly discussed, and students were encouraged to keep in touch with Dana Cea, as well as register for next year’s Out of the Darkness campus walk for suicide prevention.
More information on the upcoming walk is forthcoming but can be found on Out of the Darkness’ page on WCU Engage as information becomes available.