UTSA’s Student Government Association (SGA) is putting together a series of mental health videos. The videos, which will include student athletes who share their mental health testimonies, will be posted on social media.

Brittany Garcia, SGA President, and SGA’s Student Health Action Committee (SHAC) coordinator, Anjali Shah, are orchestrating the development of these videos.

SHAC has been struggling with providing helpful information to students in a way that interests them.

“It’s [the videos] kind of a revamp of SHAC. Before, it used to be a lot more event based, but they weren’t getting a good amount of students to come out. We noticed that and I felt like the past two years the SHAC directors just felt a lot of disappointment,” Garcia said.

According to Garcia, the idea to post the videos on social media came from the realization that people are more likely to watch a short video that informs them rather than go to a session to get the same information.

Garcia hopes that this revamp provides students with the information they would have received from a session as well as information regarding mental health on campus and the different resources available through an SGA online platform each month.

Shah let the student body dictate what the first video series would highlight.

“I actually went to [Garcia] for sexual health, but then when I went out and I asked people they all said mental health,” Shah said.

Shah had heard stories about athletes struggling with mental health, and she, along with Garcia, set out to find some of UTSA’s best athletes to spread the message about mental health awareness.

“We were talking about how do we incorporate athletics more with student life, and kind of see how do we bridge the gap that formed after the tuition and fee increase that happened last year,” Garcia said. “There was kind of a disconnect in the student body between the athletes and the student population.”

After contacting the athletic coordinators, Stefanie Cisneros and Christine Moeller volunteered to be interviewed. Shah wanted the athletes to be comfortable with opening up about their issues so students can see that others feel the same way they do.

“We know what it’s like to be students who are working, who are constantly doing stuff for school on campus,” Shah said. “We’re on campus long hours a day. That really affects you.”

“Everybody has something going on but we’re all sitting on this campus trying to get that four-year degree,” Shah said.

SGA hopes that these videos show students that it’s not uncommon to struggle with mental health.

“Self love is being able to admit to yourself and say ‘I’m not ok’ and being able to talk about it,” Shah said.

SGA’s main priority is to spread awareness about overcoming mental health struggles to as many people as they can. Shah hopes to receive feedback from the videos to see if they are helping students.

SHAC has a plan to highlight a new topic every month and share helpful tips and information with the students of UTSA through their Instagram and Twitter.

To watch the mental health videos and stay tuned with everything SHAC has to offer, follow them on Instagram: @utsasga_shac or Twitter: @UtsasgaSHAC. Follow SGA on Instagram: @utsasga or Twitter: @UTSASGA

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