YSMHA hosts annual Mind Over Matter Fair
On Saturday, Yale Student Mental Health hosted their annual mental health fair Mind Over Matter, which featured booths from advocacy and performance groups.
Sarah Cook, Contributing Photographer
Yale Student Mental Health Association hosted their annual Mind Over Matter Fair on Cross Campus on April 15.
During the fair, students explored various booths helmed by mental health advocacy groups while also sitting and enjoying performances from acapella and dance groups. The performers included the a cappella groups Cadence of Yale, Mixed Company and Doox of Yale, as well as the dance group Yale Movement. Yale College Community Care, the SHARE Center, the Asian American Cultural Center, Alliance for Prevention and Wellness and Elis for Rachael all had booths at the event.
YSMHA co-president Peyton Meyer ’24 told the News that he was excited to see so many people on Cross Campus for the event.
“Any time we’re able to facilitate even just one new conversation about mental health, it’s a win,” Meyer wrote in an email to the News.
Meyer added that after the event, students seemed to enjoy being able to browse booths and grab a bite to eat while enjoying the performances.
Ben Swinchoski ’24, one of the YSMHA members who helped organize the event, also said he hoped that the fair would expose students to different groups, spread awareness about mental health and promote ways to prioritize mental health through the performances.
“I hope students are exposed to different ways that different groups intersect with mental health awareness and take a look at the ways we’re promoting ways they can prioritize their mental health the rest of the semester,” Swinchoski said.
The booth for mental health advocacy group Elis for Rachael featured a wheel attendees could spin to learn about different options to support mental health on campus. They also included a prompt board where people could submit suggestions about what could be improved about Yale’s mental health services.
Elis for Rachael’s booth also included a TV, which played closed-captioned testimonies from alumni about their experiences with mental healthcare at Yale. Their booth also had newspaper clippings from articles regarding the recent changes to medical leave and cards that featured stories of specific alumni experiences.
The group also included links to a new survey about mental health experiences at Yale, along with an interest form for the new mental health peer liaison program.
In organizing the event, Meyer said that connecting with community partners took many emails, but they were excited to get both booths and performers for the fair. He said that the performances were a great way to build excitement and show attendees mental health is “not something that should be stigmatized or hidden,” drawing in students who may not otherwise be engaged in conversations about mental health.
Another booth included representatives from Alliance for Prevention and Wellness, a program of BH care, a community behavioral health clinic that focuses on mental health awareness and suicide prevention. The group also provides mental health first aid training, as well as an emergency mental health training known as QPR training.
“I am really glad that we’re here serving the Yale community,” said Taylor Gainey, the regional suicide advisory board coordinator for Alliance for Prevention and Wellness. “We want to let students know that in addition to mental health services on campus, we’re here as well.”
Additionally, the Asian American Cultural Center hosted a booth with space for painting posters and the opportunity to post sticky notes answering the question: “How have you felt cared for recently?”
Sunehra Subah ’24, a member of the wellness and mental health team at the AACC, said her team hopes to emphasize that students should take time they need to rest. She added that they are also often focused on the intersection of mental health and Asian identity.
“When we talk about identity, especially as racialized bodies, we talk a lot about dealing with trauma or harm or pain, and I think that’s a very good conversation, but there’s also so much joy in being Asian,” Subah told the News. “Asinanness is not only dealing with harm.”
Yale Mental Health and Counseling’s central office is located on the third floor of the Yale Health building at 55 Lock St.