The Associated Student Body and nonprofit group Active Minds at the University of Mississippi partnered together this week to host 2017’s Mental Health Week on campus. Wednesday, the Active Minds invited students to smash scales with baseball bats and sledgehammers in front of the Grove stage to promote self confidence and weight consciousness.
“Mental health is important to every individual on our Ole Miss campus and it’s time to speak up, educate ourselves, and make everyone aware. This week, we’re loving our minds and changing our habits,” ASB wrote on its Facebook page.
Southern Smash participants decorated the scales before smashing them, replacing the numbers with phrases such as, “These numbers don’t define me” and “You’re beautiful. Don’t let your mind bully your body.” Active Minds also hosted the week’s second free yoga session on the Grove stage on Wednesday afternoon, shortly after the smashed scales were swept away.
“We are trying to smashing stigmas and expectations of body image,” Active Minds President Kathryn Forbes said.
Active Minds manages a Twitter account where it shares simple but encouraging messages for UM students. “Smile because you can” one tweet reads. Another tweet reminded students to always end the day on a positive thought. “Southern Smash” served as yet another platform for the group to promote self confidence among the student body.
Wednesday afternoon, students also attached cards with anxiety-causing thoughts written on them to balloons and released them to the sky. Afterwards, students were encouraged to write down something they love about themselves to hang up in a place where they will see it every day.
“Mental Health Week” has included other events, such as a visit from the Humane Society’s puppies, free yoga and meditation in the Grove and a student athletic panel.
The organization will also host a Suicide Awareness Event at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Farley featuring UPD, representatives from the counseling center and Rivers McGraw’s mother.