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Psychology Club, department gear up for 2015 Mental Health Awareness Week

Belmont’s Psychology Club is preparing for the start of Mental Health Awareness Week Friday, which will feature discussions ranging from depression to cognition.

Mental Health Awareness Week is nationally recognized during the first full week of October. Each year, the Belmont Psychology Club organizes a series of convocations to educate students about mental health and the issues related to it.

But this year, the club wants to highlight how mental health is about more than just depression and disorders, Psychology Club President Katy Coffer said.

“While mental illness is very important to be aware of, a smaller population experiences mental illness, and there’s a lot more for everyone to think about,” Coffer said. “That’s what I love about mental health week; it’s just spending a week talking about it, which a lot of times is hard to do.”

The list of speakers this year features professors from Belmont, including Dr. Lonnie Yandell from the psychology department and Dr. Mark Hogan from the education department, with Hogan’s lecture focusing on how educational psychology plays into mental health.

The week’s lineup will also feature a psychology professor from Vanderbilt, Dr. Steven Hollon.

Hollon will discuss depression and how to treat it, and screenings for depression will be available to students at no cost.

After the first day, the subject matter will move into a wider variety of topics not specifically related to mental illness.

For one of the week’s bigger convos, Yandell will host a movie night featuring the film “Chappie.” “Chappie” tells the story of a robot who becomes self-aware and learns to think and feel. The themes of cognition in the film will tie into MHA week’s themes of consciousness and awareness, Psychology Club Vice President Emily Boyd said.

“It’s focusing around this idea of robots and different types of intelligence and whether something that’s not human can have consciousness,” said Boyd. “It’s definitely a film that is a little bit different than some of our past movies that we’ve chosen.”

The full schedule of events for Mental Health Awareness Week can be found here.

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