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October 23, 2015

Active Minds holds “Day without Stigma”

Active Minds hosted its second annual “Day Without Stigma” on Wednesday, October 21. The daylong event aimed to show support for those on campus struggling with mental illnesses. Founded last year, Active Minds is a RSO focused on promoting open discourse on mental health and empowering students struggling with mental illness to seek help. The RSO is a chapter of the larger national organization, also called Active Minds. With this event, the campus-based club hoped to gain recognition for itself and combat stigma surrounding mental health, starting with the student body.

“Because [mental health] is a thing that is not talked about, people tend to think that they’re alone or that they’re weird, weak, different, or bad in some way,” said fourth-year Madeline Klinger, the president of Active Minds.

“Day Without Stigma” invited the student body to wear green clothing to express solidarity with those facing mental health problems. In addition, Active Mind members and the Student Counseling Service (SCS) gave out green ribbons on campus.

In preparation for the “Day Without Stigma,” Active Minds set up an orange and blue flag display outside Bartlett Dining Commons to represent the 59 percent of college students nationwide who reported feeling “very lonely” last year, according to Active Minds.

By creating a strong show of support, the RSO aims to create a safe environment, where people feel compelled to seek help instead of hiding their illnesses.

Klinger advises students seeking mental health care to reach out to SCS. The University of Chicago reports that 16 percent of the student body used SCS services last year.

“We want to start changing society at this campus and hope that it spreads outwards so that people in high school can start getting treatment as soon as the mental illness or disorder arises,” Klinger said.

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