Texas A&M: Town Hall To Offer Insight On Student Mental Health

Mental health resources, awareness and advocacy will be the focus of a town hall hosted Monday, Oct. 25 by the Texas A&M University Student Government Association.

Student Body President Natalie Parks ’22 will moderate a panel of four campus mental health experts. She said the goal of the event, which begins at 5:30 p.m. in Memorial Student Center Room 2401, is to educate students about the resources available to them on campus and to provide a forum for discussion.

“Because the pandemic happened, that opened up a lot of avenues and opportunities for individuals to actually have conversations about what they’re going through,” Parks said. “There’s a lot of individuals in the world who are going through the same things that you are. I think by being open to communicating about those, even if it’s just answering questions about resources that are available to students, this town hall will help positively impact the lives of students.”

Panelists include Mary Ann Covey, director of Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS); Esther Wright, CAPS embedded counselor for graduate students; Ryan Pittsinger, assistant athletics director and director of counseling and sport psychology; and Megan Benzel ’22, chaplain for the Corps of Cadets.

The town hall will also have a virtual option via livestream on the Texas A&M Facebook page. Student questions will be accepted both in-person and online via Facebook Live.

“I think when you find people who share similar experiences, it can be really powerful and empowering,” Parks said. “It serves as a reminder that you’re not the only person going through something.”

Students are active participants in their own mental health, Covey said – there are tools they can use to take care of themselves, like getting enough sleep, eating well and exercising.

“Students can get caught in a real cycle of anxiety, depression and stress, and that cycle does not allow them to perform to the best of their academic capability,” Covey said, adding she plans to talk to students about the importance of “investing in your own self-care.”

To do this, though, requires students to have discipline and value their mental health, she said. Covey will share recommendations and resources available at CAPS, and explain concepts like the connection between physical and mental health.