Campus to embrace Mental Health Awareness

By Maria Ahmad

Mental health has been considered a taboo in some societies, but the Say It Out Loud campaign hopes to change that in Illinois.

The Say It Out Loud campaign was created to shine a light to mental health. The goal of the campaign is to enable people to discuss mental health in a safe, stigma-free society.

The campaign is run state-wide and is supported by the State of Illinois Department of Human Services’ Division of Mental Health, and Illinois Children’s Mental Health partnership. The campaign’s slogan is “promoting good mental health to everyone in Illinois.”

“Good mental health is having people be able to feel like they can talk about it without the stigma or feeling of being strange,” said Elisa Woodruff, a graduate assistant in the Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education (CAHE).

CAHE received the Say It Out Loud grant from the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership.

“The Say It Out Loud grant will help to spread the word about mental health and to educate our community that having a mental health illness is no different from having a physical illness,” said Charles Myers, professor in the counseling department.

Through the grant, the department has launched a website which offers information on mental health and where to get help to campus and the community.

“There are also links for faculty on how to address mental health concerns in the classroom and how to help students who may need it,” Myers said. “Beyond the website, we are developing presentations that will be available to any professor who may wish to educate their students on mental health.”

The website also has a list of activities, like upcoming Mental Health First Aid certification courses and Say It Out Loud Week.

“Just like First Aid is used in medical emergencies, this training will help in emergencies, such as an anxiety attack,” Woodruff said. “We are filling up and will probably add a second set of dates shortly.”