A day of mental awareness

Throughout the semester, the students of Dr. Fullmer’s heavy metal class create and carry out a class project.

Fullmer uses this project as a tool for hands-on learning on how to organize a large event. Ultimately, however, it’s a hands-on experience of putting on a concert. Psychology major Jan Spencer is a student in the heavy metal class and founder of this semester’s class project: Awareness about those who have severe mental illness.

As part of the project, Fullmer and his students are putting together a symposium to be held April 1 at 11 a.m. in the library auditorium (LI 120). “There is a strong correlation between heavy metal music and those affected by mental illness, as they resonate with each other,” Spencer said.

Along with correlating mental illness to the class, Spencer is passionate about spreading the truth about those who suffer from mental illnesses.

With her sister suffering from psychosis, Spencer has spent time with her sibling in the psych ward and has come to realize how much the mentally ill suffer almost every minute of every day.

“The amount of emotional suffering they (the affected) have literally causes them physical pain. These are people that are struggling in a society that doesn’t understand or accept them,” Spencer said.

Since there are many stereotypes of mental illnesses, the purpose of the class project is to educate people and have them gain a better perspective by expressing the need to break the social stigma and negative stereotyping associated with mental illness.

“Whether negatively or positively, people will treat the affected differently than any other disease,” Spencer said.

The symposium will feature Dr. Larry Beall as the main presenter. Beall is the clinical director and founder of the Trauma Awareness & Treatment Center (TATC), which is located in Murray, Utah. Using trained skill for a “hands-on” approach to therapy, Beall uses sand trays, art and other experiential mediums for his patients.

“This guy cares. He will not let a patient go until they are stable. The reason I’m bringing him in from the thousands of psychologists and psychiatrists is because this man cares,” Fullmer said. Beall is coming to lecture on his own time free of charge just to be part of the project’s cause. Along with Beall’s presentation, the symposium will include student speaker Jan Spencer, who will be giving a short presentation of how society sees and hears negative association to mental illness from media and movies.

Will Sears, a student affected with schizophrenia, will hold a question and answer session at the end of the program.

Fullmer’s heavy metal course has received immense support from Dean Yells and Elaine Englehardt for its class awareness project.

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