Last week Phi Sigma Sigma and Alpha Phi Omega worked in conjunction with Stevens Counseling & Psychological Services to promote Stigma Free Week at Stevens\. Student Organizations and individual students were encouraged to sign the Stigma Free Pledge in order to encourage the elimination of biased judgment of other students and members of the community.
Stigma, or societal disgrace, is propagated misinformation that may deter people from being and expressing themselves. Stigma is particularly impactful on people with mental illnesses, because not only are they misguided by stigma, but also afraid of seeking help in order to deal with their disorders. For this reason, Stevens Counseling & Psychological Services found it necessary to bring the week-long event to campus in order to ensure that members of the Stevens community dealing with mental illnesses feel comfortable seeking help. This year’s Stigma Free Week comes roughly a year after the inaugural ceremony of ‘THRIVE’, an initiative to end mental health stigma on campus, during which Stevens was declared a “Stigma-free campus” by former New Jersey governor Richard Codey.
In an effort to encourage members of the community to seek the help they need, CAPS organized depression screenings on Wednesday in their office on the 7th floor of Howe, the library, and Jacobus Lounge. Additionally, CAPS and Samuel C. Williams Library held Resilience Bootcamp on Thursday, an event meant to teach skills useful for “bouncing back from setbacks”. CAPS offers free and comprehensive counseling and psychological services that provide short-term therapy. Anyone who feels as if they may be dealing with a mental condition or feels in need of emotional support is encouraged to visit their office. In addition to holding events to promote mental well-being, sisters of Phi Sigma Sigma and brothers of Alpha Phi Omega held table-siting sessions throughout the week for people to sign the Stigma Free Pledge by the 6th and 9th entrances to campus and in Pierce Lobby. Students who signed the pledge were given an “I Pledge to Keep Stevens Stigma Free” button as well as a free lollipop.
The Stigma Free Pledge was signed by Phi Sigma Sigma, Alpha Phi Omega, the Student Government Association, Lambda Upsilon Lambda, CAPS, The Office of Student Life, and hundreds of individual students. Moving forward, CAPS will be holding monthly events aimed towards addressing mental illnesses in a continued effort to keep Stevens a stigma-free campus.