Health and collegiate organizations tackle mental health in students

Leaders of several collegiate organizations alongside the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), recently combined efforts to introduce a plan focused on combating mental illness in colleges and universities across the nation.

CEO of NAMI Mary Giliberti, Chief Medical Officer of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Brian Hainline, and CEO of the Jed Foundation John MacPhee, revealed their plan, Starting the Conversation: College and Your Mental Health, during a press conference held on Sept. 20, 2016.

Starting the Conversation: College and Your Mental Health will offer parents and students the opportunity to understand more about mental health, including what laws are instituted and how mental health information can be shared.

Giliberti strongly advocates that having this talk will not only bring awareness, but provide advocacy, education and support in communities across the United States.

“We recommend starting a conversation with your parents or whomever your trusted support network is. There are 4 topics to discuss when starting the conversation: 1.) mental health conditions are common 2.) what are the common signs of a mental health condition 3.) whether there is mental health care on campus and 4.) what are the health information privacy laws and rules.”

The stresses of college may impact mental health, making it difficult to manage the daily demands of life. According to National Institute of Mental Health, 1 in 5 young adults live with a mental health condition, and suicide is the second leading cause of death for young adults ages 15 to 24.

The researchers behind NAMI and this guide stated that 75% of mental health conditions manifest by the age of 24. This is known to be a pivotal and crucial time as most college students these days are away from their established support systems — perhaps for the first time.

Starting the Conversation: College and Your Mental Health is available for download by heading over to nami.org/collegeguide.

NAMI and the UW Tacoma Student Health Services department understand that many people can feel alone. Giliberti concluded the conference by saying that they encourage you to read this guide, learn from it and use it to start and continue a conversation about mental health. UWT Health Services reminds all currently enrolled UWT students that basic services are provided at no cost at their facility located at Laborers Hall.

ILLUSTRATION BY ALEXX ELDER

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