Why I love Being In NAMI At Drexel University
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Student Life

Why I love Being In NAMI At Drexel University

1 in 4 Americans experience mental illness in one way or another.

Why I love Being In NAMI At Drexel University
Tony Thurmond

When I first came to Drexel, I wasn't sure if I was ever going to find a club that would be fitting for me. I was worried about fitting in, finding the time for a club in between classes, and simply finding a club that I would be interested in. This past winter, I stumbled across a small group called NAMI On Campus- Drexel University. After attending the first meeting, I knew I had found the right organization to be a part of.

NAMI is a large, national grassroots mental health organization that provides education, raises awareness of mental health, and strives to reduce the social stigma surrounding mental illness. 1 in 4 Americans are affected in some way by mental illness, whether it be an internal struggle or with a friend or family member. Similarly, NAMI at Drexel is an affiliated organization with similar goals. The only difference is that we focus our advocacy and education around students at Drexel and the community members of West Philadelphia.

Our official mission statement:

"NAMI on Campus Drexel University is a student organization that educates students and our community about mental illness, striving to raise awareness, and reduce stigma. NAMI Drexel also provides support to those with mental illness on campus, providing information on how to care for one self in spite of daily stresses and possibly a mental health diagnosis. NAMI Drexel advocates for the continuation of mental health services on campus. Students can advocate for better mental health services on a local, state, and national scale to enhance the quality of life of those in their community and beyond."

In addition, NAMI at Drexel shares my beliefs on mental health. We that the general public needs to be better educated on mental health, and more aware of the effects of stigma. Many people are afraid to get help because they fear that their family, friends, coworkers, etc. will judge them, call them crazy, and be unsupportive. This is not the world we should be living in. We should be living in a world where everyone is accepted, regardless of mental health status. I believe that people should be able to have access to the care they need.

Mental health is a huge problem on college campuses. Depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideations are through the roof, especially as a freshman. We hope to let the freshman, and all Drexel students know that they are not alone in their battle with mental illness.

Each week, we meet downtown to discuss how to advocate and help our fellow students at Drexel. Mostly, we plan fun, educational events that would be beneficial to those who have had experience with mental illness. The best part is, most of our events have free food!

Upcoming events:

March 16, 2017 at 6pm is "Movie night." We will be showing disFIGURED, a movie that is about eating disorders. We will also have a guest speaker, Dr. Janelle Mensinger that will be talking about eating disorders. There will be refreshments such as popcorn and pretzels that are free to any students who come to the event.

April 5, 2017 at 6pm is going to be "Open Mic Night." Open Mic Night is going to provide a platform for students and surrounding community members to talk about their experiences with mental illness. The students can get up on the stage and talk, while enjoying free coffee and pastries from local vendors. If you are uncomfortable speaking but would like your story to be heard, anonymously or not, you can submit a story here and we will read it for you. The goal of the event is to reduce stigma surrounding mental health, and to bring together Drexel students who are passionate about raising awareness about mental illness.

I love this organization because I am passionate about helping others who have experienced mental illness. As a future counselor, this kind of work is right up my alley. However, you do not have to be a behavioral health or psychology major to join the club or participate in our events. The club is always looking for new members, so even if you are a business major but are interested in finding a community that is passionate about mental health, then this is the club for you!

Want to stay in touch with our organization and keep up with our events?

Follow us on twitter, instagram, and facebook!

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