PERU – Each year for the past four years, the crowd for the annual Glow Walk for Mental Health Awareness Month has grown. This year’s walk, coordinated again by Peru State counselor Jamie Eberly, was the largest ever with over 300 participating in the walk.
The event, which has been a coordinated effort with the College’s counseling services and the athletic department has begun to attract more and more students and staff who participate each year.
Eberly noted, “This was the fourth year of the Mental Health Awareness Month’s Glow Walk. Peru State College Counseling Services continues to partner with the Peru State Athletic Department and each year this event continues to grow! This year, at least 300 students participated in a walk around the quad. It was a beautiful night to raise awareness about mental health in college students and show support to fellow Bobcats. Many important conversations were happening during the event helping others see it’s okay to ask for help and hopefully break down some of the stigma that comes with that! I am so thankful to the Athletic Department for their commitment to this cause! Next year, it will be bigger and better!”
As participants registered, they were given the choice of a variety of different glowing items from necklaces to eye glasses which were donned during the walk.
Peru State women’s basketball player and member of the Student Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), Maddy McPhillips (Omaha), stated, “The Glow Walk is one of my and my teammates favorite events on campus because it allows us to show our support and bring awareness to a subject that is so important but often not discussed enough. Mental Health impacts many more people than we think and this event does a great job of showing individuals on our campus who struggle with mental illness (or know a loved one who does) that they are respected, accepted, and supported in the Peru community. Overall I think it is so heartening that our College can come together to bring awareness to an important topic in a fun and inclusive way.”
Studies show that stigma very often causes those who have a mental illness to not seek help. If traces of those stigmas can be removed, it is believed that those mentally ill will seek help. The Glow Walk is an easy way for people to get together to show support, gather knowledge, and help educate people about mental health wellness.
Darren Hasch (Destin, Fla.), also a SAAC member and a Bobcat baseball player participated for the second time since being on the Peru State campus. He commented, “I had a great time at the Glow Walk. I loved seeing the athletic department coming together and participating in this. The school does this to raise awareness for mental health.”
As mental illnesses affect 19% of the adult population, 46% of teenagers, and 13% of children each year, Peru State will continue to host events such as the Glow Walk and provide as much information possible to help educate those in need.