Giving a voice to individuals with mental health conditions
The goal of Pacific’s Mental Health Awareness Committee (MHAC) is to provide educational workshops and mental health screenings in our community and ultimately to reduce stigma surrounding mental health — one conversation at a time.
“Mental health has always been an important aspect in my own life, and I understand the difficulty in talking about mental illness and the struggles people face due to the stigma,” said Sally Tran ’24, MHAC co-chair. “It is important to have discussions around mental health and to ensure people feel validated. Through MHAC I also hope to create a safe space for pharmacy students to share their thoughts and concerns.”
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five Americans live with a mental health condition and one in every 20 adults is living with a serious mental health condition such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or long-term recurring major depression.
“It is important to have discussions around mental health and to ensure people feel validated.”
MHAC’s mission is to educate the community about the prevalence, prevention, treatment and current research into mental health conditions and neurological disorders. The committee promotes mental health awareness in the community through presentations and screenings at health fairs.
“We screen patients for insomnia, depression, anxiety and memory decline,” Tran said. “We are able to provide non-pharmacological resources and encourage patients to reach out to their providers.”
Each year in March, MHAC participates in Brain Awareness Week, a global campaign focused on rallying support for brain research. The members of MHAC are also passionate about encouraging their classmates — fellow future pharmacists — to remember they play a vital role in educating patients on the importance of medication adherence and serving as a resource for recognizing the signs and symptoms of various mental health conditions.
MHAC also advocates for the mental well-being of their fellow doctor of pharmacy students through mental health check-in surveys and by sharing tips for caring for one’s mental health.
“Take breaks and incorporate self-care activities into your daily routine,” Tran said. “This can be going on a walk, exercising, catching up with a friend, taking a nap or eating a snack. Do not be afraid to ask for help, whether you are struggling in academics or with mental health.”
Pacific students have access to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), which provides a broad range of therapeutic services including group therapy, individual, couples’ sessions, informal consultations and online assisted therapy. Contact CAPS at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209.946.2315 EXT 2.