Many students who walked by California State University, Northridge’s Cleary Walk on Nov. 5 stopped to craft artwork, leave colorful handprints on a big canvas or write down positive thoughts to share with their peers. CSUN students were invited to release their creativity during midterm exams, at “Take a Break From Moodle, Let’s Doodle.” The activity was part of Beat the Blues Week, Nov. 2–5, organized by the BLUES Project, a volunteer program that educates students about depression and suicide, sponsored by the Department of Student Affairs.
During Beat the Blues Week, students were encouraged to take their minds off their studies and relax. Several workshops and activities throughout the week focused on stress and anxiety management.
“Students should have the chance to alleviate themselves from anything that is causing some kind of stress,” said Maria Retiz, president of the BLUES Project. “They can get involved in order to help reduce any anxiety or stress they may have before midterms or finals.”
The events and workshops were open to all CSUN students, as well as faculty and staff. Highlights of the week included a Nov. 3 screening of Silver Linings Playbook, a romantic comedy about two people battling mental illness, on Bayramian Lawn; Yoga on the Lawn on Nov. 4 and a candlelight vigil Nov. 5 with Catherine Albrigo, vice president of the BLUES Project and advocate for the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.
“Beat the Blues Week is made especially for students to get informed about the resources offered on campus, such as University Counseling Services,” said Retiz. “We also want students to know that there are programs like the BLUES Project, promoting awareness about mental health.”
The BLUES Project hosts Beat the Blues Week every fall semester. In spring, the initiative organizes a similar event, called Semi Colon Project, which raises awareness toward the issues of self-harm and self-injury.
“We are hoping to hear from students what they would like us to bring to the CSUN community in order to bring more awareness of depression and suicide prevention,” said Retiz, adding that the BLUES Project always looks for effective ways to reach out to the campus community. “We hope to achieve the goal of breaking the silence and stigma of depression.”
For further questions on the BLUES Project, call (818) 677-2610 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.