Kansas State University


K-State Parents and Family Program

Students Plan Mental Wellness Week

Student Body President Jessica Van Ranken is a senior from Lindsborg, KS majoring in Political Science. Vice-President Trenton Kennedy hails from Frankfort, KS and is majoring in entrepreneurship.

While running for Student Body President/Vice President last spring, Jessica Van Ranken and Trenton Kennedy shared a campaign priority to increase awareness for mental wellness among the student body. K-State junior Olivia Baalman was listening to their message, and was inspired to apply for Student Governing Association’s (SGA) Health and Safety Director.

According to the SGA website, the Health and Safety Director is responsible for campus programming designed to increase the safety of students, both on and off campus. The position represents the interests and concerns of students on matters pertaining to health and safety, and will work with campus officials, local businesses and community partners to accomplish a safer campus and community environment. This position is specifically charged with executing key elements of the Van Ranken-Kennedy administration’s focus and initiatives related to mental wellness on K-State’s campus.

Olivia Baalman is a junior majoring in Computer Science from Wichita, KS.

Baalman was selected as health and safety director, and quickly went to work creating plans for a first-ever Mental Wellness Week.  Olivia shared that her personal knowledge and experiences are a motivating factor for creating programs and events that de-stigmatize myths centered around mental illness.

Olivia assembled a committee of students, faculty and staff to prepare a schedule of activities that includes opportunities for students to have fun while learning about mental wellness. Committee representatives include WellCat Ambassadors, Union Program Council, Counseling Services and Student Governing Association.

Baalman reports that the planning committee has worked diligently, and are particularly excited about the Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk to be held on Saturday, April 8, 2017.  While the walk is FREE for students to participate, donations are encouraged and greatly appreciated. The committee has a fundraising goal of $3,000 that will provide funds for additional educational programming on campus. Students and families are invited to make a donation online by visiting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).

Take a look at the creative programming that is scheduled for April.  Additional details and information will be shared with students through K-State Today email messages, and social media.

Mental Wellness Week:  Schedule of Events

Monday, April 3 – Saturday, April 8, 2017

Monday: Recess!

11 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Bosco Student Plaza

Appearance by Willie the Wildcat

Tuesday: RT’s for Ross and FREE food

11 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Bosco Student Plaza

“Behind Happy Faces” with Ross Szabo at 7 p.m.  Ballroom, K-State Student Union

Wednesday: Stomp the Stigma

11 a.m. – 1 p.m. on the Quad

Bubble Wrap Stomp

Thursday: Art Therapy – because life can get messy

11 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Bosco Student Plaza

Creating your best life–Mental Wellness panel 4:30 p.m. Big 12 room, K-State Student Union

Friday: Bubble Your Troubles Away

11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Talk Saves Life with Melissa Kurtenbach at 12:30 p.m. Big 12 room, K-State Student Union

Saturday: Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk

Registration begins at 10 a.m.


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