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To: Faculty, Staff, and Students
From: President Ashish Vaidya
Date:  10/04/21
Subject: Seize the Awkward Campaign for Mental Health Awareness

Dear Campus Community:

Today kicks off the second week focusing on Mental Health Awareness across the U.S. Here at NKU, we are using these weeks as a reminder of the importance of prioritizing your mental wellbeing. Fall can be challenging under normal circumstances when the colder weather moves in and the days get shorter. For many students, navigating a new academic environment and being away from home can multiply the stress and anxiety of this time. This year, the ongoing pandemic is compounding the mental and physical strain we are feeling. Let us take this time to renew our efforts to support each member of our campus community. 

This can start with paying attention when talking with your friends, your fellow students or your colleagues. You can often tell when someone is not quite themselves, but many of us might feel uncomfortable asking if they are okay. It feels awkward, and that is the point of Mental Health Awareness week’s “Seize the Awkward” campaign. We know these conversations are not easy to have. This campaign provides tips to recognize the signs that someone needs help and the tools to start the conversation. NKU’s Office for Student Accessibility put together a great video explaining the campaign. View the video below:

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As you heard on the video, NKU has many resources available to support our campus community. On Thursday, Oct. 7, Norse Violence Prevention and the Office for Student Accessibility are hosting a Mental Health Self-Care event to teach strategies to stay focused on the present. If you are looking to talk with someone, students can take advantage of Health, Counseling, and Student Wellness’ counselors and support services by calling 572-5650. For our faculty and staff, University Wellness provides the Employee Assistance Program through Aetna. It offers online resources and counselors available anytime. We also have a 24-hour crisis line at 859-572-7777, in addition to the national crisis line available at 1-800-784-2433 or by texting 741741.

“Nobody enjoys an awkward silence. But when it comes to mental health, awkward silences don’t have to be a bad thing.” This line from the video sums up the heart of this campaign, to empower all of us to start the conversation. Sometimes just having someone ask how you are feeling can make all the difference… so let’s make a difference. Let us “Seize the Awkward” because we are all in this together as one Norse family. Family takes care of each other, and that is what we do here at NKU.

Sincerely,

Ashish Vaidya