On Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the West Gym lobby, the Binghamton Student Managed Adderall Research Team (BSMART) hosted Matters of the Mind, an event that featured mental health resources for students. While this event was not planned in response to the recent tragedy, Matters of the Mind’s mission of destigmatizing and spreading awareness of mental health became especially imperative to the campus community.
Participating organizations provided interactive workshops and tables that informed attendees about the available resources on and off campus, as well as each of their initiatives. Matters of the Mind included activities ranging from research-based bingo and jeopardy, an instructed yoga class, Southern Tier Aids Program (STAP) narcan training and a Harpur’s Ferry presentation.
Lina Begdache, associate professor of health and wellness studies, research mentor for BSMART and Binghamton Mentors for the Interdisciplinary Nutrition and Distress Study (BMINDS), expanded on how Matters of the Mind came to be.
“The idea started because we needed to [raise] some awareness about mental health and substance use, but we also needed to get to the greater campus community by having all the potential resources on campus to help promote [them],” Begdache said. “I actually give most of the credit to Sam Bonventre, [assistant research lead of BSMART], because she came up with the idea. I helped her develop the idea and would give her feedback and help whenever she needed, but [Bonventre] was behind the idea itself.”
Begdache further explained why the event involved organizations outside her research stream.
“BSMART studies the impact of adderall and other substance abuse on mental health, and BMINDS studies the effect of diet on stress and other neural behaviors like stress, mental health, motivation and resilience,” Begdache said. “But I’ve talked to my students and have realized that although Binghamton has resources, [students] aren’t aware of every resource available. So, we’ve put all the resources together into one room, hoping that students will use them.”
In addition to BSMART and BMINDS, some other organizations that took part in the event were Support Empathy Empowerment Kindness (SEEK), Harpur’s Ferry and Active Minds. All of the organizations, though different in execution, share the common goal of being available and reliable resources for students.
Isabella Tavarez, chief financial officer of SEEK and a senior double-majoring in psychology and women, gender and sexuality studies, discussed SEEK’s role as a campus resource.
“Seek stands for support, empathy, empowerment and kindness, and our mission is to get people to be comfortable reaching out for help,” Tavarez said. “We’re a student-run helpline, so students can reach out if they’re going through something and might feel uncomfortable talking to an adult. We’re peers listening to peers, giving them an open ear. We want people to know that it’s okay to ask for help and if you need that help, please reach out for it.”
Cameryn Lucia, a member of SEEK and a senior majoring in psychology, spoke about what she hopes attendees took away from the event.
“I hope that students were able to see that they have people on campus and in the Greater Binghamton community who care for them and are a resource in whatever means possible,” Lucia said. “When it comes to SEEK, I hope students know that they have peers that want to support them and see them succeed to their fullest potential.”
Active Minds, an organization tabling across the room from SEEK, had students lined up to learn about their purpose while indulging in some conveniently supplied candy corn.
Paul Gluck, president of Active Minds and a senior majoring in economics, explained the student-to-student objectives of the club.
“We are a chapter of the national organization and got started here because students recognized the lack of mental health resources or at least a disconnect between the more professional and actual student body,” Gluck said. “So, Active Minds was founded almost as an in-between for the students. If you want to get help but you don’t necessarily want to talk to a professional or an adult quite yet, you can just go to a student who knows to some degree what you’ve been going through.”
In addition to Binghamton’s outreach programs, sometimes medical intervention is necessary — in which case Harpur’s Ferry, the student volunteer ambulance service on campus, is an available resource.
The Harpur’s Ferry team conducted a presentation educating about alcohol and overdose training. They covered topics like how to maneuver someone at risk, what to do before and after Harpur’s Ferry arrives at the scene, along with various helpful acronyms.
Tatum Sinopoli, the chief and executive director of Harpur’s Ferry and a senior majoring in integrative neuroscience, stressed the importance of Harpur’s Ferry being a student-run resource.
“Harpur’s Ferry is never going to try to get you in trouble,” Sinopoli said. “All of your information is protected under HIPAA, and we just want everyone to be safe and happy. We’re students too so we understand. If you’re stressed about a test, so are we. If you’re having mental health issues because of something going on in the world right now or family problems, I promise you someone in our agency has felt the same way. We just want to try to make ourselves as approachable of a resource as possible.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health or substance use, the following resources can be reached with these numbers at these times:
Binghamton University Affiliated Services
Binghamton University Counseling Center, 607-777-2772, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday
Binghamton UPD, 607-777-2222 (or 911), 24/7
CARE Team, 607-777-2804, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday
Harpur’s Ferry, 607-777-3333 (or 911), 24/7
SEEK Helpline, 607-777-4357, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. every day
Off Campus and National Resources
Crime Victims Assistance Center, 607-722-4256, 24/7
Crisis Center @UHS BGH, 607-762-2302, 24/7
Crisis Text Line, Text “HOME” to 741741, 24/7
MHAST Mobile Crisis Team, 607-766-1369, 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Tuesday
MHAST Warm Line, 607-240-7291, 24/7
SAMHSA, National Helpline 1-800-662-HELP (4357), 24/7
Suicide Crisis Hotline, Dial/Text 988, 24/7