YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown State University’s Student Counseling Services is holding a Mental Health Awareness Art Contest. The counseling center is using art as a platform to connect students.

The art contest is to raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding seeking mental health services.

We spoke with the assistant director of Student Counseling, Anne Lally, about the value of creating a community that supports and addresses mental health through creative methods.

“It’s a great way for somebody to put out there how they are feeling and maybe not have to say it,” she said.

Lally says all students are welcome to participate in the competition. Artwork should promote mental health awareness and represent diversity within the community.

“You are not alone and I think that’s helpful for our students to know you are not alone, other people are dealing with similar issues,” Lally said.

Organizers believe art is a way to relate to others and open the door to healthy conversation.

“I think it speaks to others and they see that artwork and they say, ‘Oh right, that means something to me as well,'” Lally said.

The counseling center provides resources and information to any student looking for help.

“What kind of changes would you like to make? What would you like to see happen in your life so that you can move forward in a more positive way?” Lally said.

The last day to submit artwork for the competition is Oct. 7. Click here for more information about the contest.