May 1 marked the start of the 65th annual Mental Health Awareness Month. The month originally came about by presidential proclamation and aims to raise awareness about mental illnesses, such as depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
The theme for this year, determined by National Health America, is “Mind Your Health,” and is intended to build public recognition towards mental health and raise psychological wellness awareness. Organizations such as Mental Health America have been fundamental in providing help for the psychologically ill as well as providing a way to make contributions to mental health and wellness charities and take positive and protective measures for the sake of the own mental well being. The organization also provides advice on how to coping with mental disease and information about local and national events.
Lindenwood is celebrating Mental Health Awareness month by partnering up with Mental Health America of Eastern Missouri and encouraging students to attend an annual film showing and discussion. The year’s film will be “The Beaver” and will be shown on Friday, May 9, at 7p.m. at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Admission is free.
According to statistics by the National Alliance on Mental Health, one in four adults between the ages of 18 and 24 have a diagnosable mental health condition and more than 25 percent of college students have been treated by a professional for a mental health condition within the past year alone. Almost 73 percent of college students have experienced a mental health crises, yet 34.2 percent of the victims reported that they did not inform the college of the incident.
As a result, mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are taking a toll on young college students. As of 2011, 64 percent of young adults are no longer in college because of a mental health related reason and 31 percent of college students have felt so depressed in the past year that it was difficult to function.
Similar studies show other troubling findings. More than 45 percent of young adults who stopped attending college because of mental health related reasons did not request accommodations; 50 percent of them did not seek mental health services and supports either. Overall, 40 percent of students with diagnosable mental health conditions did not seek help, many because of the stigma attached to mental illness.
With the knowledge of these statistics, many organizations and individuals are taking the opportunity to place an emphasis on “ending the stigma” as an important part of Mental Health Awareness Month. Organizations such as Bring Change 2 Mind encourage individuals to make a pledge to not discriminate against those struggling with mental illness and accept donations that will be used to help fund medical trials for such diseases.
Many other companies, such as To Write Love on Her Arms, have began selling merchandise with the quote “End the Stigma” to raise awareness about the issue. The non-profit company uses to money raised from merchandise to assist in the treatment and recovery for those struggling from depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide attempts.
Lindenwood offers a free consultation service for students struggling with anxiety, depression, stress, alcohol or drug abuse, sexual assault, eating disorders or related issues.
The Student Counseling and Resource Center is located at 400 North Kingshighway, Suite 300 and appointments can be made by calling 636-627-2928.