With finals less than a month away, stress is no stranger to University students. For some, Wednesday night’s Mental Health Camp event was a start to addressing the issue.

The event was sponsored by student groups such as the Asian Pacific Student Coalition, Lambda Alliance, Latino Coalition, UMOJA and the United Minorities Council.

Consisting of four different workshop-oriented activities, the event focused on de-stressing tactics, how Penn students define success, relationships and communication, and minorities and mental health. Each workshop featured a Penn specialist from Counseling and Psychological Services or the Weingarten Learning Resources Center.

Associate director of CAPS Meeta Kumar described the event as an opportunity to “engage quickly in the conversation,” but she stressed the importance of continued collaboration in dealing with issues of mental health.

Lead organizer of the event Michelle Leong, APSC vice chairwoman of political affairs and an Engineering sophomore, emphasized the need for awareness and the eradication of stereotypes. “‘Model minority myth’ is a myth that Asians always do well in school. Because of this, they feel heightened external pressures from not only family but also friends and their school environment.”

The event was part of a larger Penn Mental Wellness Week. College senior Mo Shahin, one of the organizers of Penn Mental Wellness Week and a member of the Undergraduate Assembly — one of the week’s sponsors — said that he hopes the initiatives have a lasting impact. “It’s created to be the beginning of a sustainable effort to support Penn students and their mental wellness. Ultimately, we see this as a way to improve student life and something of value to every Penn student.”

Overall, the participants in the camp left with positive attitudes about how the experience has helped them to look at the issue in new and interesting ways. College junior Victor Galli said that “mental health across the board is under-utilized and over-stigmatized,” and that the event was “important in advancing the knowledge base within our communities.”

Shahin said he is happy with the results of Penn Mental Wellness Week so far. “If even just one student comes away with the tools to cope with the various stress factors and something meaningful, this week has been a success.”

Note: This article was updated from its original version to clarify that Leong was referring to the "model minority myth," rather than the "minority myth."

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