Larry Pollock Kent State of Wellness Summit focuses on mental health

Jessica Skitzki

A group of students, administrators and health professionals came together to ignite a conversation about mental health at the Larry Pollock Kent State of Wellness Summit Wednesday.

Rylie Woods, a graduate student in the College of Education, Health and Human Services, and Annelise Stopar, a junior marketing major, chaired the summit, which focused on the importance of continuing the conversation about mental health, particularly on Kent State’s campus.

“We hope to create an opportunity for learning and discussion around some of the mental health challenges universities and students face,” said Melissa Celko, the director of Kent State of Wellness.

The Summit started with 11 booths from organizations and programs around the community, such as Middle Path Counseling Services LLC, Kelly’s Grief Center and Family and Community Services Inc. Representatives were available for discussion and answered questions the attendees had.

Alison Malmon, the founder and executive director of non-profit organization Active Minds, presented a keynote about her journey starting the nonprofit to support education and awareness of mental health.

In 2018, Active Minds recognized Kent State as one of the healthiest campuses in the nation because of initiatives like the Larry Pollock Summit. Malmon shared seven steps that campuses like Kent State successfully do to create mentally safe and healthy environments.

The Summit also featured three panel discussions. The first was led by Kent State students, who talked about their experiences with the negative stigma around mental health issues, student organizations on campus to go to for help and their advice to mental health professionals about what they need. The second and third panels consisted of professors, administrators and practicing mental health professionals on campus and around the community.

“The panelists discussed some of the internal resources that we build as a university and community locally and how does that support the work that can be done and the resources that can be brought to bear,” Celko said.

“All of the conversations and our experiences springboard for the conversation,” Celko said. “But what are the bigger issues in the nation and our community, what are we learning from other people’s experiences and how can we make the best differences in our own community?”

Jessica Skitzki covers health and fitness. Contact her at [email protected].