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What is the issue with mental illness?

Mental illness exists all over, but research continues to find that mental illness on college campuses is an issue, both in the rising rates that it affects students and the stigma that surrounds it. Evidence suggests that students in late adolescence (15-18) leading into emerging adulthood (18-24) are experiencing increasing levels of mental health problems, due to greater amounts of stress in their lives. This is important to know because it shows that mental illness is not targeting a select few, but rather many college-aged students all over. This is why the stigma that surrounds mental illness is the problem. Students need to know that having a mental health problem isn’t something they should be ashamed of or try to deal with on their own, in fear of being “weak” or judged by others. By destigmatizing mental illness, those suffering will feel more comfortable stepping forward, talking about their struggles, and getting the help they need. This is where Active Minds comes in.

What is Active Minds?

Active Minds was founded by a junior named Alison Malmon aactive_minds_logo_larget the University of Pennsylvania after her older brother Brian tragically committed suicide in 2000 after suffering from schizoaffective disorder. She was determined to get people talking about mental illness all while fighting to destigmatize it, so people could get help sooner and avoid tragedies like her brother’s. Although it started as a small idea known as “Open Minds” at the University of Pennsylvania, it quickly gained support and spread to Georgetown University. The growth of chapters on many campuses continued and allowed Active minds, the new name, to become a nationally recognized non-profit organization in 2003. Today, Active Minds, through its over 400 nationwide student-run chapters, continues to help raise awareness about mental illness and educate students about mental health resources on and around campus. The organization does this by holding campus-wide events that seek to get people openly discussing mental illness, in order to help destigmatize it. Although Active Minds doesn’t provide counseling or treatment for people suffering directly, they help connect people to resources that can provide the help they need. (Active Minds website)

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