A group of ENC students are creating a new chapter of National Alliance for Mental Illness on campus to encourage awareness and education of ENC students, faculty, and staff about mental illness and mental health.
NAMI, a nationwide campaign, was founded in the late 1970s and has since been a leader in mental health education. With millions of factions, volunteers, and leaders, NAMI hopes to change public and political ideologies surrounding mental health.
The ENC NAMI group hopes to eliminate the stigma that currently surrounds mental illness on campus and in our community and to improve the lack of mental health education across the entire population of students.
“The [mental health information] gap appears among the students, despite the fact that approximately one in four young adults will be diagnosed with a mental illness,” NAMI member Amanda Wasser said.
Joining Wasser in ENC’s faction of NAMI is sophomore Josh Morgan, sophomore Shelby Hedlund, and junior Michelle O’Brien. The group plans on setting up an event each month to bring awareness to the community, and continue their education and support of those struggling with mental illness.
Hedlund is happy to play a part in NAMI, and hopes that the club’s focus on encouraging students to share their own stories and personal experiences will help unify students and help them find a bigger community together.
“We’re going to try and cover what we all struggle with, using personal experiences to try and make a change on campus,” Hedlund said.
Hedlund also noted that a lack of education on mental illness can be a root that creates larger problems.
“Because students’ reactions are often made in ignorance when it comes to mental illness, we want to create a better awareness of what it is so we can deal with [those illnesses] better,” Hedlund added.
NAMI partnered with the Brickley Center and Brad Thorne to ensure that the information they present remains accurate, helpful, and informative.
ENC’s NAMI had their first general meeting in April and are continuing to plan events for next year. NAMI hopes to begin advertisement for meetings and events in the coming weeks and early fall semester.