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News Release

Feb. 4, 2022

Community invited to art exhibition, mental wellness seminar to promote mental health awareness

By Edidiong Idong-Bassey, communication assistant

Northwest Missouri State University's Active Minds and the Behavioral Science Association, in collaboration with Wellness Services, are hosting “I Will Listen,” an event aimed at reducing stigmas surrounding mental illness and promoting discussions about mental health disorders.

“Everyone needs to educate themselves about mental health, how to recognize problems, where to get help and end the stigma surrounding mental illness so people aren’t afraid to get the help they need,” Monica Zeigel, the coordinator of Hope 4 All at Northwest, said. “Managing mental health isn’t just for those who are struggling. It’s also a proactive measure. Just as we exercise and eat right to take care of our bodies, learning how to manage mental health can make it easier to face challenges in the future.”

The “I Will Listen” event, which is free and open to the public, is from 1 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 22, in the J.W. Jones Student Union Boardroom, with resource rooms open from 3 to 5 p.m.

Attendees may participate in short yoga, Zumba and meditation sessions, in addition to an art exhibit depicting experiences with mental health. The art exhibition will feature drawings, paintings, graphic designs, pottery, sculpture, photography, mixed medium work and poetry submitted by Northwest students and employees as well as community members. Attendees will be invited to vote on the artwork, and prizes will be awarded in each age category.

Speakers scheduled for the event include Olivia Babinski, the president of the Behavioral Science Association; Chris Dawe, Northwest’s assistant vice president for health and well-being; Nicole Harnisch, a certified mental performance consultant; Isaiah McBride, a functional family therapist; and Payton Walker, a Nodaway-Holt high school student.

“This event is important because it creates an opportunity for individuals to hear or see personal stories and share their personal stories,” Babinski said. “Whether those stories are done with words, art expression or exercise, someone will be impacted by what they experienced that day.”

First, second and third place winners of the art exhibit will receive gifts worth $75, $50 and $25. The organizations aim to raise $1,000 to support the National Association of Mental Illness.

For more information, contact Babinski at or Zeigel at


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