UAB Student Counseling Services advocates for creating an open conversation about mental health on UAB’s Campus and on Monday, Sept. 25, they will partner with Student Advisory Board to host a mental health town hall. The event begins with tabling outside of the Alumni Theatre of the Hill Student Center at 5:30 p.m. with the town hall kicking off at 6 p.m. The panel will discuss topics such as the stigmas surrounding mental health, self-care and also the role faculty and staff play in mental health at UAB. Panelists include Dr. Ray Watts, UAB President; Dr. Cristin Gavin, associate professor in the Department of Neurology; Siddhu Srikakolapu, Undergraduate Student Government Association; and Maigen Bethea, Black Graduate Student Government Association. “The importance of the Mental Health Town Hall is to give students the opportunity to have a conversation with faculty, administrators and staff and each other about mental health and how it impacts our campus,” said Dr. Angela Stowe, director of Student Counseling Services. “This year, we are focusing on how aspects of identity, including race, culture, sexual orientation, national origin, gender identity, and other aspects impact mental health.”

Student organizations such as Graduate Student Government, USGA, Theta Chi Fraternity, Black Graduate Student Association, etc. are also sponsors of the town hall and will to bring a broader sense of awareness to the UAB community. The student organizations on campus believe in the idea that the student body should be open and willing to discuss the stigmas and stereotypes surrounding mental health.

Siddhu Srikakolapu, executive vice president of the Undergraduate Student Government Association said, “I hope that stigma behind mental health will be silenced, that no student will fear walking into a counselor's office and asking for help. I hope that students will empathize with their peers' struggles and be able to offer a helping hand to those who are down. When we fail to reduce stigma and when we don't pick up our friends and peers who have lost hope our whole campus suffers. But when we talk about mental health, work together to advocate for the wellness of our friends and peers and when we fight for a healthier, happier campus, we will prosper.”

The Mental Health Town Hall is a great way for students to speak up and let their voices be heard, as well as learn more about mental health from the aforementioned panelists.