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Old Gold & Black

Covers the campus like the magnolias
"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

Editorial: Mental Health week remains important

This year’s programming asks the important question: “are you okay?”


Virginia Noone

Flags on Tribble Courtyard represent Americans struggling with mental health challenges.

Editorial Committee

As February progresses, the blooms of spring fill the forest, casting a verdant spell across the Wake Forest campus. Under the gentle warmth of the sun‘s rays, students meander through the grounds, soaking up the beauty of the world around them. 

In the midst of national headlines that can leave one feeling downtrodden, the picturesque forest provides a welcome reprieve, reminding us to cherish the simple things in life. The beauty of nature also coincides with Mental Health Week, a week that highlights the importance of self-care and emotional wellness.

According to the National College Health Assessment survey conducted in 2022, a staggering 53.6% of college students report feeling a high level of loneliness. This echoes the findings of a 2017 survey conducted here at Wake Forest, where 75% of students stated that they were unable to stop or control their worrying during the previous two weeks. The results of a 2022 mental health survey conducted by the UCC are still, to our knowledge, unavailable.

In light of these alarming statistics, members of the Wake Forest Student Government have committed to providing friendly check-ins with students throughout the week’s events. The theme for this year’s mental health week is a simple question: “Are you okay?” A seemingly innocuous query, it’s designed to start a conversation about mental health and destigmatize the struggles that so many of us face.

Let’s be honest, “Work Forest” can be a bit of a pressure cooker. But just because we have rigorous academics doesn’t mean we are immune to the stresses of daily life. We know that college can be stressful, and sometimes we just need to blow off some steam. There’s no shame in admitting that we need help — in fact, it takes a lot of strength to do so. 

Mental Health Week provides us with an opportunity to openly talk about anxiety, stress and loneliness, topics that are all too often brushed under the rug. However, this conversation must extend far beyond a single week. We encourage Wake Forest students to talk to their peers about their personal journey in overcoming common stressors, whether it’s post-graduation anxiety, GPA woes or navigating social life.

The Old Gold & Black commends the Mental Health Week programming thus far — as it does the important work of promoting campus resources around mental health. Some of the week’s programming, like the BIPOC lunch yesterday, underscore that the university must recognize the importance of mental health as a vital component of diversity, equity and inclusion on campus. This recognition will go a long way in destigmatizing mental health issues and providing viable solutions to students.

In the meantime, let’s not forget to stop and smell the roses (or the wildflowers, as the case may be). Take a deep breath, and appreciate the crystal-clear sky after a deluge of rain and the sunsets that paint the sky with a palette of pink and purple hues. Remember that sometimes it’s okay not to be okay, and we can work together to foster a caring community that prioritizes emotional well-being.

The Old Gold & Black’s editorial committee writes the paper’s weekly editorial. The above editorial expresses its opinions and the editorial voice of the paper. The committee is chaired by Online Managing Editor Aine Pierre and also comprises Opinion Editors Sophie Guymon and Shaila Prasad, Assistant Opinion Editor Lauren Carpenter and Staff Writers Ashlyn Segler and Hope Zhu. The content of all editorials is reviewed by the Executive Board of the Old Gold & Black before publication.

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About the Contributor
Photo of Virginia Noone
Virginia Noone, Photography Editor

Virginia Noone is a sophomore studying Critical and Creative Media. She grew up in Bridgeport, West Virginia but moved to Dennis, Massachusetts during...

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