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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
"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:
NAMI on Campus resources for the StigmaFree campaign include a power point presentation deck that can be used or adapted for campus presentations.
NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for millions of Americans affected by mental illness.