Senate discusses mental health

Anya Annear

ASSP establishes committee for spring, wants to bring awareness to subject

School of Psychology Senator Ryan Richardson created a Mental Health Initiative proposal that was passed at Senate. He will be working with ASSP President

Mary Liu and Dr. Steven Maybell, the director of the Student Counseling Center.
Richardson will be joined by senators Haley Frith, Sierra Clemens and Courtney Rutzer on the newly established Mental Health Initiative Committee.

“The thing about mental health is that it is behind closed doors. It makes people feel like they are invisible,” Richardson explained.

“With this [committee] getting started, we are hoping to help people be aware of what to look out for, and to not feel like they are alone, and that there are other people to connect with not just from the counseling center.”

The purpose of this initiative and committee is to plan an event during spring quarter for mental health awareness.

The committee is planning to host a panel featuring professors, experts in the field of psychology and students, facilitating discussion and creating openness, trust and honesty around the issue of mental health.

“This is a vulnerable space for people, especially people with mental health issues or illnesses, whether it’s with themselves or people close to them. So, we want this to be volunteer panel,” Liu said.

Senate also passed a second proposal, which was brought forth by Senator at Large Abbey Brandt.

She proposed an American Sign Language (ASL) class initiative.

This proposal will form a committee outside of senate to brainstorm ways to encourage students to sign ASL.

“Frankly, this is an easy way for us to create accessibility here at SPU for students,” Brandt said.

ASSP Vice President of International Affairs Melissa Del Rio, who is sponsoring the proposal, added, “For me personally, I wasn’t born hard of hearing, but in high school started losing my hearing. So for me, it would have been more beneficial if SPU had ASL classes. I want to create long term systemic change in order for ASL to be brought to campus and last.”

In other business:

1. Liu announced that she will be forming the Senior Gift Committee within this coming week to discuss what gift the senior class will give SPU.

2. ASSP Executive Vice President Danielle Meier announced that the Student Leadership Development Committee will be on Tuesday, Jan. 30, in Upper Gwinn from 7 to 9 p.m. It is mandatory for all student leaders.

3. Meier announced that ASSP Core applications will be open next Monday, Jan. 29, on Orgsync. Applications will close on Feb. 12 at 5 p.m.

4. Del Rio announced In Context has been postponed till Tuesday, Jan. 30, due to the lack of sign-ups. “This is a great experience, even for those who haven’t had a lot of exposure. Please tell your friends, especially if they are curious about race and want to discuss it in a safe setting.” Del Rio said.

5. ASSP Vice President of Ministries Kathryn Baumheckel announced that on Feb. 22, there will be a prayer walk around campus. “Stop by a different booth and there will be different prayer activities,” Baumheckel said.

6. Baumheckel announced that the ASSP Ministry Council met with Haven. “It was really great hearing stories from them and how we can better the program. They will be passing a letter through senate to upper administration at some point in the future,” she said.