For Loras student Clare Brunn, her story with mental health began at an early age. Six years ago, Clare was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and generalized anxiety disorder. “In 2012, my childhood friend died of a brain tumor, and that’s when it all started,” Brunn said. “I was concerned, I just couldn’t admit it to anyone, because [anorexia & anxiety] had taken over my life.”

Mental health is often subject to generalizations based on common trends. Increasing rates of depression and anxiety have brought mental illness to the public’s attention, but people often lack a deeper understanding of where mental illness comes from and how it impacts those diagnosed.

Judith Rowett, a clinical social worker at Oak Tree Counseling in Dubuque, mentions that, “Biology, emotions, and experiences are very interwoven. Most often, when I see a young person, I find that they are having an adjustment problem to some circumstances and most often it is a developmental type challenge.”

However, it is never too late to begin improving an individual’s outlook on mental health. Judith talks about getting assistance for treatment, whether that be medication for biological influences or even counseling in order to gain resilience in bad psychological situations.

As for Clare, she is optimistic that anyone can overcome issues of mental health, saying, “Here I am, sitting in college, living such a better life. Recovery is possible and recovery is beautiful.”

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