When people think about the term “mental illness,” often times they think “crazy,” or “dangerous.” Most people do not understand the meaning of the term, which is why many assume that those who look or act happy do not suffer from mental illness. This is entirely untrue. In fact, it is often very difficult to tell when someone suffers from a mental illness. This is why mental health awareness is a global issue. Anyone can suffer from a mental illness. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)approximately 18.5 percent of adults in America experience mental illness in a given year. That translates to about 1 in 5, or 43.8 million. In children ages 13-18, an estimated 21.4percent, or 1 in 5, experience a severe mental disorder at some point during their life.

 

I Am Resilient put up posters encouraging staff and students to "Stop the stigma"

I Am Resilient put up posters encouraging staff and students to “Stop the stigma”

Mental health is a greater issue than people make it out to be, and I think that it is very important that the community becomes more educated about it. Senior Olivia Haglund took on the task of starting a mental health awareness club, I Am Resilient. “Basically,” says Haglund, “we discuss stigmas we’ve seen in Coginchaug and ways to eliminate them. I decided to organize it as part of my CUSP project because, throughout the past four years, I’ve noticed that students and teachers at Coginchaug have a pretty major lack of education on mental health, and I wanted to try to change that. A lot of people in school have mental illnesses, and I wanted to start something that would help them and educate everyone else.”

 So far, the club has met a handful of times. Around the school, students can see that members of I Am Resilient have hung up posters with sayings such as, “Stop the stigma,” and have also put up facts about mental health on the English Department bulletin board. Haglund also plans on organizing events for Mental Health Awareness Week, during which the club would host a fundraiser to collect money for a mental health charity. There would be  “…a minute of silence during announcements for people suffering from mental illness and those who’ve either attempted or succeeded in suicide,” says Haglund. “Basically, we want to get the point across that mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of and that nobody is alone.”

English Department bulletin board filled with facts about mental health.

English Department bulletin board filled with facts about mental health.

I Am Resilient put up posters encouraging staff and students to "Stop the stigma"

I Am Resilient put up posters encouraging staff and students to “Stop the stigma”

 I Am Resilient has had a positive outcome thus far, though Haglund still hopes to accomplish more in the future. She stressed multiple times the importance that people, especially teenagers, know that mental illness is not something that people should be ashamed of talking about: “Surprisingly, I found that most people are actually willing to step up and talk about mental health. I thought that it would be tough to get people to talk about mental health and their experiences with it, but most people are more than willing to share their stories.” Haglund also touched on the fact that most people assume mental illnesses can be controlled or suppressed, which is not the case. She plans on discussing the possibility of keeping I Am Resilient a club after she graduates. “I think that overall, the school needs better support for people with mental illnesses as well as better education on it… I really hope that I Am Resilient and the Mental Health Awareness Week can provide support for those with mental illnesses and teach people that those suffering from mental illnesses need support rather than negative stigma.”
For more information or to join I Am Resilient, email Olivia Haglund at [email protected].

I Am Resilient put up posters encouraging staff and students to "Stop the stigma"

I Am Resilient put up posters encouraging staff and students to “Stop the stigma”

Print Friendly

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.