With Winter Quarter in full swing, Active Minds UCLA took a chance to step away from midterms and discuss mental health in a new light. During week five, all of our hard working directors and members put on an amazing initiative, titled Culture in Mind, during which we discussed the intersectionality between culture and mental health. The week consisted of daily event collaborations with various cultural groups on campus, along with a week-long photo project featured inside the Kerckhoff Art Gallery, where Bruins from different cultural backgrounds and communities were featured.
The week began with our Events committee putting on a collaboration with MEChA, called Latinx/Chicanx Mental Health. The event featured a presentation describing the role of mental health in these communities and aimed to inform students about existing mental health resources both on and off campus which are available to them. An intimate and interesting discussion developed among the guests that tackled all sorts of cultural stigmas, perceptions and beliefs in the Latinx/Chicanx community and how that has influenced students’ mental health experiences. Many people from the community along with allies took the time to participate in such a great event!
Tuesday, our Education committee collaborated with INDUS for the event A Focus on Mental Health in the South Asian Community. This evening was full of information, resources, and discussions about how mental health is perceived in this community, why it is perceived that way, and what we can do to change this perception. There was a short film displayed about the representation of mental health within Southeast Asian communities and insightful group discussions that included students’ personal narratives and helpful information which stemmed from the film.Thanks to our Education Committee and INDUS for sharing such amazing insight and information with our Bruin community.
Wednesday - the excitement continued as our Workshops committee collaborated with both Outwrite NewsMagazine and the LGBT Center here on campus for our event titled Embracing Queer Mental Health. This event provided a safe space for students from the LGBTQ+ community and aimed to create a comfortable environment in which narratives pertaining to struggle, pain, strength, and power from members and allies could be shared. It started with a panel of students from the Outwrite Magazine who educated a lot of our guests with their own stories, stories of others, and information that can change people’s lives. The emotion driven insight and discussions educated and comforted many people in this community along with their friends and fellow Bruins. This event highlighted mental health in a culture that faces a lot of unattended illnesses, and was extremely important to help us all grow as a community.
As the week continued, all of Active Minds, led by the one and only Tania Caceres, collaborated with the Afrikan Student Union, for Black Minds Matter, in the Kerckhoff Art Gallery. The event hosted Dr. Green from CAPS who led a presentation on specific mental health perceptions, stigmas and struggles within the African American community and provided resources aimed to help the African American population here on campus. A great thank you to Dr. Green and the Afrikan Student Union for helping raise awareness about the intersectionality between mental health and the African American population through this event.
We ended the week, with our Advocacy Committee collaborating with the Undocumented Student Program at UCLA, for an event titled Addressing Anxiety in the Undocumented Student Community. During this particularly volatile time, we recognize that being an undocumented student is more stressful than ever, thus this event aimed to provide not only a safe space to these students, but also give out as many resources as possible to help deal with any anxiety and stress that these times may bring. The event consisted of a student who shared his experience being an undocumented student and how his mental health has been impacted as a result of lack of resources, the current political climate and the anxieties that come with being a student at an institution such as UCLA. Followed by his remarkable narrative, Jo Pessin, a mindfulness expert, joined us for a mindfulness and stress management workshop which taught students how to release stress for students. It is an important issue to address today and everyday, thus we aim to support this community with resources and allies as much as possible. A huge thank you to Jo and Undocubruins for helping make this event possible!
Throughout the week, our Culture in Mind: Exploring the Intersectionality between Culture and Mental Health photo project was displayed in Kerckhoff Art Gallery, portraying the many cultures that our Bruins come from and how each student’s mental health matters. Active Minds UCLA members, directors, SWC directors, our campus’ Bruin Bear, members from the Afrikan Student Union, The Beautiful Mind Project, the Muslim Student Association, Global Siblings, the Dashew Center, sororities, GRIT Peer Coaching, INDUS, Outwrite Magazine, the LGBT Center, undocumented students, USAC representatives and general reps, Bruin RunWalk, Bruin Consent Coalition, Body Image Task Force and many more organizations + members of various cultural communities were a part of this photo campaign. We thank everyone who participated in this project as it would not have been made possible without them. The purpose of this campaign was to advocate for everyone’s mental health but as well as mental health within cultural communities which is often overlooked. What we all achieved by bringing Bruins from different organizations and cultural communities is a beautiful testament to how when we build bridges between communities we are stronger together.
We are proud to also report that our Culture in Mind photo campaign will soon be featured inside CAPS and will continue to be a great representation of the Bruin community and all the intersectional identities that make us who we are. Active Minds UCLA would like to thank all of the students who attended our events during the week. We hope that these events were insightful and a space for members of cultural communities as well as allies to learn about mental health representations in many communities and cultures, the various existing mental health resources, and the important steps we can take in order to lessen the mental health stigma within these communities so we may better support one another at UCLA.