St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) hosted the annual Stomp Out Stigma 5K for suicide awareness. The event took place on Sept. 29 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on the Michael P. O’Brien Athletics and Recreation Center (MPOARC) rec courts, and stretched across the entire campus. The 5K was held the same day as SMCM’s first Wellness Fair, which was held in the MPOARC from 2-4 p.m. and run by the Wellness Center. This year’s Stomp Out Stigma 5K was the most successful and attended SMCM has had yet, with 94 participants.
The 5K is a free event for the entire campus run by the Peer Health educators, who are a dedicated group of student leaders on campus that work at the Wellness Center and promotes physical and mental health. Emily Lamoreau, staff therapist at the Wellness Center, is the sponsor of the Peer Health Educators. Registration for the event was free and the first 30 people who signed up received a free T-shirt.
At the beginning of the event students were able to engage in activities to promote mental health awareness, such as receiving temporary semicolon tattoos, which are a prominent symbol of suicide awareness and prevention. The race bibs worn by participants had various statistics concerning mental health and suicide printed on them, as well as resources for seeking help. Local health and wellness organizations were also at the wellness fair and provided students with free STI testing and body composition screenings.
The Stomp Out Stigma 5K is an annual event, so SMCM students can look forward to participating every fall semester. “This 5K is something I am proud to be a part of. It is so important to provide a community that nourishes the mental health of SMCM students” said Vera Armstead, a Peer Health Educator here at SMCM.
The Wellness Center and Peer Health Educators also offer other mental health services. There are walk-in hours Monday-Friday from 1-3 p.m. for students to receive psychological and counseling services. Peer Health Educators run the walk-in hours on Wednesday and Friday. They will also be running two events in November. One event, “Going Home for Break,” will be held on Nov. 7, that will be focusing on dealing with emotions around going home for break. There will be another event on Nov. 28 called “Finals Self Care and New Semester Goals,” which will be centered around de-stressing during finals week and setting goals for the new semester. Additional information on these events can be found on the Peer Health Educators’ Instagram page @peerhealthsmcm. Students should be on the lookout for more events run by Peer Health Educators in hopes of raising awareness of mental health issues on campus.