U students to raise awareness about mental health issues

Nickalas Tabbert

University of Minnesota students will visually learn about mental health issues Wednesday.

One thousand, one hundred chairs will be placed on Coffman Union's Front Plaza as part of "Don't Sit in Silence," a mental health awareness display.

Organizers plan to attach personal stories about mental health submitted by University students and family members, a press release said.  In the stories, students and others talk about their struggles, triumphs and experiences. 

Passers-by can walk around the chairs and read the stories.  For those who did not submit stories in advance, organizers will provide construction paper, markers and other supplies so students and others can share their story or decorate a chair in memory of someone affected by mental health issues.

A program from 12:15 p.m. to 1 p.m. will include a moment of silence and spoken word artists who will perform illuminating different facets or mental health.

Participants will receive t-shirts that say "I Stand Up for Mental Health Because ______" and each person can write their reason in the blank, the press release said.  People who submitted a story will receive a color T-shirt saying "I stood up for mental health" on the front and "Don't Sit in Silence" on the back.

In addition to the "chair stories," contributors can share their experience through written word, video or poster on the Minnesota Health Awareness Day Facebook page.

The event runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Coffman's Front Plaza.