Gorillas in Your Midst (GIYM) is a certified peer health education group on Pittsburg State’s campus. GIYM celebrated Body Positivity month by having Body Positivity Week.
“We’re a peer health education group so it’s not just awareness but how to, and I believe that is the main goal,” said Mekayla Melvin, junior in psychology.
GIYM put on an event on PSU’s campus the week of Feb. 25, Body Positivity Week. During the week they tabled in the Overman Student Center, each day discussing a different topic.
“GIYM has been doing this for years, it’s been called ‘Love Your Body Month’ usually, but because of the timing and all that we decided to just do a week and do a lot more for it,” Melvin said.
Monday, they discussed physical health topics and information about physical health for students. They covered different topics such as breast cancer and testicular cancer.
“Basically, just to promote body positivity, that you’ve got to love your body, that’s what you’ve been given to live with and it’s important to think of your body in a positive way,” Brouhard said.
On Tuesday they discussed mental health and different aspects of it. Not only the basis of mental health but also how to think positively about oneself.
“We did stuff about physical health because you can’t really be positive about your body without understanding physical health, we did a mental health table too because again you can’t really be positive with your body without thinking about your mental health, and if your mental health is in the decline your body positivity is also in the decline because you have trouble thinking of yourself positively,” Brouhard said.
The final tabling day, Wednesday, GIYM discussed eating disorders and provided resources for students.
“Then we tied in eating disorders because this week is national eating disorders awareness week, so we wanted to do a table dedicated just to eating disorders and the signs and symptoms about different ones and how it can affect the body,” Brouhard said.
The tables provided an informational poster that covered the different areas of each topic discussed each day.
“The eating disorders and the physical health was mostly Brandy. I did the mental health and the boards downstairs, display cases, so she did a lot of research into types of eating disorders we’re talking about and printed out the help sheets so if you have a friend or yourself need to call out to someone we have those cards available,” Melvin said.
They also had a ‘Body Positivity Height Chart’ in a display case located downstairs in the Student Center. The left side of the display showed positive messages about growing through hard times. It also provided a variety of foundations and organizations that help with suicide and crisis situations as well as mental health, advocacy and legal issues, and financial assistance. They provided the names and contact information for the organizations as well as hotlines for those in crisis.
“Those two were mostly focusing on mental health, my whole ordeal this week was mental health, the one out to the left is kind of like a, your growth or your success isn’t measured off of someone else’s, so to the left you have a ruler and to the right it has resources that a lot of people may need,” Melvin said.
The other half of the display case was designed to be “a hard pill to swallow,” it discussed different ways to help mental health that might be hard but are beneficial. There were lots of positive quotes and messages across the display and a ten-step guide to become mentally stronger. It was organized as if a doctor were writing a prescription for students to take these positive messages as needed.
“The other display case was kind of like hard pills to swallow so a lot of times we, like if you look at them for instance one thing people tend to forget is sleeping so they’ll put off sleeping to do a paper and all that, but the thing is we need to balance life,” Melvin said.
GIYM wanted to provide information about different factors that may cause these issues.
“Just to know that eating disorders can stem from trauma, from substance abuse, that kind of stuff that it is still common in men, men think that ‘Oh, I can’t have an eating disorder because I’m a guy,’ well in reality it is possible for men to develop eating disorders,” Brouhard said.