VolAware Street Fair Encourages Mental Wellness on Campus

KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will highlight mental health resources available to its campus community at the annual VolAware Street Fair from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 13, on the University Center Plaza.

Students unwind with some arts and crafts at the 2009 VolAware Street Fair.Mental wellness is often not a top priority for college students across the nation, and failing to pay attention to one’s mental health can lead to serious problems that affect students’ studies and personal lives.

UT’s VolAware program is a year-round mental health awareness, wellness and suicide-prevention campaign. Each fall, the VolAware Street Fair gives students and the community a chance to meet mental health professionals and learn about services on and off campus. Students also can take part in activities like mental health “Jeopardy!” and personal safety demonstrations from the UT Police Department and express their inner child by playing on large inflatable toys and finger-painting.

Other events include:

  • QPR Training: “Question, Persuade, Refer” suicide-prevention training open to students, faculty, staff and the community;
  • Career Session: “What Can I Do with a Major in the Helping Professions?”;
  • Wellness/biofeedback training; and
  • “Healthy Lives” art competition

In addition, WUTK will be on hand for a remote broadcast from noon until 3 p.m. For a detailed schedule of the day’s events, visit http://volaware.utk.edu/2010 Schedule.html.

A game of inflatable Twister heats up at the 2009 VolAware Street Fair. Students attending the fair will be given participation certificates that they can use for credit in certain classes. Those who participate in QPR suicide-prevention training and get signatures from visiting a set number of booths will be entered into a drawing for a $500 book loan from the UT Bookstore.

Faculty, staff and community members who choose to participate in QPR suicide-prevention training will be entered into a drawing for a hardback copy of the book “The University of Tennessee Basketball Vault: The History of the Lady Vols,” autographed by Lady Vols head coach Pat Summitt, as well as basketball signed by the coach.

Other prizes and giveaways will be awarded throughout the day, including a football signed by head coach Derek Dooley, a basketball signed by men’s head coach Bruce Pearl, as well as one signed by Summitt.

The VolAware Street Fair is hosted by the UT Counseling Center and the Safety, Environment and Education (SEE) Center, and UT students and staff are involved in planning the event.

There are a variety of resources available on campus for students, faculty and staff as part of VolAware. The Counseling Center offers free and confidential counseling for individuals, couples and groups. The Dean of Students Office acts as a clearinghouse for students to connect with services on campus, and a case manager is available to help students. The university has provided faculty and staff with a protocol to help distressed students. Members of the campus community may call 974-HELP to report concerns about someone else. Faculty and staff are encouraged to call 946-CARE to report concerns about co-workers.

For more information, visit http://volaware.utk.edu/.

CONTACT:

Rebekah Winkler (865-974-8304, rwinkler@utk.edu)

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