By SARAH E. WARD
Mental illness affects as many as in four college students, according to the National Association of Mental Illness. Stress, relationships, finances, heredity and school are just a few factors that can lead to a mental illness or breakdown, no matter how slight or severe.
Many people keep their mental illness to themselves for fear they will be scrutinized and judged.
The IU South Bend chapter of Active Minds is trying to address that stigma and reach out to students who may be struggling with mental health issues and depression. Active Minds is a non-profit that was incorporated in 2003 and founded by Alison Malmon after her brother Brian committed suicide. Brian, a college student, suffered from depression and psychosis and was later diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. Unfortunately, the help Brian received was too late as he ended his life.
Amy Dayton is a staff social worker at the student counseling center at IUSB and wants the student community to support Active Minds so this tragedy does not happen again. Dayton knows that many students need someone to talk to but often don’t.
“The purpose is to raise mental health awareness on campus and reduce the stigma of mental illness,” she said. “It’s just like any kind of other illness, diabetes or heart disease. We have mental illness too and it can affect you, and people seem to have a negative stigma about it.”
Active Minds is a student-run group but Dayton says they are in need of students wanting to get involved.
“At this point we don’t have any students who are currently involved but what I have been trying to do is just have informational meetings and at this point students are not interested,” Dayton said.
Though no students are currently involved with Active Minds, it is estimated more than 50 million Americans suffer from some type of mental health disorder.
To get involved, contact Amy Dayton at firstname.lastname@example.org or Megan Hensley at email@example.com. You can also visit the counseling center in the IUSB Administration building or visit http://www.activeminds.org.