Is Your Campus StigmaFree? NAMI Calls for Student Mental Health Action

Sep 29 2015

ARLINGTON, Va., Sept. 29, 2015 -- The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is calling on college and university students to take a StigmaFree pledge  and fight discrimination against mental health conditions as part of a growing nationwide movement.

Coinciding with Mental Illness Awareness Week (Oct. 4-10), NAMI sees growing student activism as the first wave of a campaign that will expand to include businesses and faith communities over the next two years. Its foundation is a pledge promising to

  • Learn more about mental health-and teach others.
  • See the person, not the condition—tell your story.
  • Take action—make a difference.

"NAMI needs the help of students, faculties and administrators to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health conditions, based on demeaning stereotypes and misinformation," said NAMI Executive Director Mary Giliberti. "Stigma discourages people from seeking help when they need it and when it is internalized jeopardizes recovery."

NAMI currently has almost 120 NAMI on Campus chapters and has worked nationally with the North American Interfraternity Conference, National Pan Hellenic Council and the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority on mental health education and awareness.  In 2012 it published College Students Speak, a survey report that gained attention in news media.

Sharing personal stories is considered one of the most effective means of eliminating stigma. Taking action can involve a broad range of possible activities depending on individual preference or particular campus environments:

  • Supporting friends by making appointments, accompanying them to mental health clinics and staying connected.
  • Spreading the word about warning signs or stigma in newspaper articles, blogs and social media and participating in the national dialogue at #IamStigmafree.
  • Organizing film series that include both dramatic portrayals and documentaries with mental health themes.
  • Holding "teach-ins" with faculty and outside speakers to provide education, build awareness and develop specific agendas.
  • Participating in lobbying campaigns and "lobbying days" at state capitals sponsored by NAMI state organizations and local NAMI affiliates.

NAMI on Campus resources  for the StigmaFree campaign include a power point presentation deck that can be used or adapted for campus presentations.

About NAMI

NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

Facebook.com/officialNAMI
Twitter.com/namicommunicate
www.nami.org/stigmafree/campus
www.ok2talk.org