Celebrate Mental Health Arts and Music Festival 2019

There was a lot of excitement leading up to NAMI’s Celebrate Mental Health Festival, at least for me. I had worked so incredibly hard on helping plan this day that when all the pieces were finally coming together, it was surreal. Countless of hours by numerous of executive board members went into the detailed planning of a small three hour period. However, something special happened in those three small hours.

Hundreds of Tulane students and community members stopped by Newcomb Quad on a beautiful sunny autumn day, drawn in by the music. That’s when the real intrigue began. There were over 40 various student organizations who ran a table with interesting and engaging activities and conversations surrounding mental health. The goal of this event was to start conversations about mental health with the aim of reducing stigma surrounding mental health by creating opportunities to learn and share knowledge and resources that empower us to live happy and healthy lives.

The creativity and passion displayed by student organizations who participated was inspiring. One organization helped people create positive reminder bracelets, the ones I saw said things to the effect of smile and be happy. Another table displayed a board with attributes of a healthy relationship, and asked people what they were thankful for about their relationships. This sparked an important conversation about how our relationships with others can have an impact on our mental health. One of my personal favorite things I found that I had never encountered before were meditation rings and bracelets. These pieces of jewelry are textured which encourages fidgeting with them. The concept is that you fidget with or rub the textured jewelry which you can use to either ground yourself or use as something to focus on when meditating or in a stressful situation. This was an amazing unique tool that was completely new to me! Then, I encountered a breathing exercise involving bubbles. The idea is that you compare trying to blow bubbles with short, hard breaths and with slower, long breaths. It turns out that you create more, larger bubbles with slower breaths. This represents how important slow, deep breathing is.

Along with all the awesome tables and activities, I was blown away by how many students and community members showed support for this cause. I believe Celebrate Mental Health Festival was successful because of how open and engaged attendees were. People were excited to talk about their mental health within the scope of everyday life. I will be forever grateful for this opportunity to be apart of this because without Celebrate Mental Health Festival, not as many people would be comfortable talking about or even think about their mental health and how various things can influence their mental health. Small changes and conversations lead to big waves in education and knowledge of resources available to those who are going through troubling times.

Author: Jordan Sampson

Jordan is a junior from East Tennessee with a passion for neuroscience, psychology, and mental health. The award was used to help fund NAMI’s Celebrate Mental Health Festival with the aim of destigmatizing conversations around mental health and educating the Tulane community about mental health.