By: Charlotte Cheek ~Staff Writer~
A week of activities on campus surrounding mental health awareness will kick off on Oct. 1 in preparation for the Warrior Run next Friday. The Warrior Run is in honor of Jim Miller, former director of Gallagher Student Center, who committed suicide in 2008. Miller was active in his community as a soccer and cross country coach for his daughters and served as an advisor for Xavier Student Government Association.
The race benefits Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s (CCHMC) Surviving the Teens® program. The Warrior Run was founded by Miller’s wife in 2009, and last year was the inaugural year for the College Challenge, a challenge between local universities that encourages students to participate in the Warrior Run. The challenge is held in honor of Brogan Dulle, a former University of Cincinnati student, who committed suicide in 2013. Last year, Xavier won the College Challenge. Other competitors in the College Challenge include University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati State, Northern Kentucky University and Mount St. Joseph University.
Xavier was awarded first place based off the percentage of the student body that participated, number of community service hours logged by participants and fundraising. Xavier was granted $5,000, which went toward Wellness Week activities, $1,500 for a scholarship, a trophy and a Skyline Chili cheese coney party. Wellness Week will take place from Oct. 1-7 and will include a variety of events designed to promote discussion of mental health topics ranging from suicide prevention to general well-being. Some of the events are focused on meditation and peacefulness, such as Yoga on the Yard, which will include free tea samples from Community Blend.
Others are reflective, such as the Love & Kindness meditation and Common Ground, where Monica Coleman will preach and reflect on those who have died from suicide. Another activity is Alpaca My Bags: Sending Depression Packing, which will consist of a mental health screening and petting alpacas on the Xavier Yard.
The Warrior Run will take place at 5:15 p.m. on Oct. 10. at Bell Tower Park. Students can register to race or volunteer until Oct. 8. “As a psychology major, I think mental health is important because it affects every aspect of our lives, from physical health to motivation to GPAs. It determines how well or how badly we are able to function in each of these aspects,” sophomore Essie Jostad said.
“(Wellness Week events are) a great way to bring the conversation up,” Sean Rhiney, director at the Eigel Center for Community Engaged Learning, said. “The events are really diverse. This might be a heavy conversation to have, so go do the fun things.” A full list of events, dates, times and locations can be found at http://www.xavier.edu/eigelcenter/ Wellness-Week-20151.cfm. Rhiney stated that Wellness Week and the Warrior Run are “great ways to live the mission of (suicide prevention).” If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or thoughts of suicide, reach out to the McGrath Health and Wellness Center or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at (800) 273-8255.