The reason I missed the discussion section on April 25th was because I was helping with a very important event on campus: Mental Health Awareness Day (MHAD)! The purpose of this event is to raise awareness about mental health issues and suicide on campus. During the morning of the event, we set up 1,100 chairs to represent the 1,100 college students in the US that die by suicide each year! Just looking at that many chairs really makes you think about why mental health is so important! We also had a speech from Mark Meier (the founder of the organization called Face It), performances from spoken word, free t-shirts, and the opportunity for people to dedicate a chair for someone they know who deals with a mental health disorder or who has committed suicide.
The reason I joined MHAD is because I have personally dealt with depression and anxiety myself. Right before college started, I had a lot of things going on in my life that caused a lot of stress. At one point the stress just became too much for me to handle and that is when depression and anxiety entered my life. I knew little about these mental disorders before college, so when I was first starting to experience them I was very confused, frustrated, and scared. Eventually I figured out what was going on and went to see my local doctor. Ever since then I have been taking medication and seeing a therapist to help me manage my depression and anxiety. Even though I have gotten a lot better, they are still something I deal with to this day.
Depression and anxiety are hard to describe to people unless they experience it for themselves, yet that is nothing I would wish on anybody. Unfortunately, along with mental disorders, there are many stigmas that are attached to these diseases. If you tell someone that you have a mental disorder some people might think you are crazy or are just making it up. Well, as one who has dealt with mental disorders first-hand, I would be the first to say that those are just plain not true. Mental disorders are real diseases and should be treated very seriously. MHAD gave me the opportunity to take a stand for mental health because it is something that I find to be very important and worth talking about. In the end, raising awareness and talking about mental health will hopefully decrease the number of students that die by suicide because I believe that every person in this world is special and has a reason to be here!