Mental Illness Awareness
DUBUQUE – Mental illnesses – it’s something that is all around us, but hard to see.
“I didn’t want anyone in my hometown knowing because I didn’t want to be the town gossip,” Clare Leis, a Junior at Loras College, confides about how she once felt about her mental illness.
“I was diagnosed in 2009 with obsessive-compulsive disorder as well as depression and kind of generalized anxiety along with that,” she says.
Organizations on campus and in the Dubuque community are working to familiarize people with mental illnesses like Clare’s.
“I think with mental health, people assume you’re weak and that you don’t need a doctor, that you need to get over things,” Tricia Borelli, Director of Counseling Services at Loras College explains. “It’s just not an easy thing to put a bandaid on because it’s chemicals in your brain that aren’t producing what they are supposed to be producing.”
If those who suffer with mental illnesses live in fear about talking about their illness openly, it can become too much to handle.
“It just got really, really bad. To the point that I had given up hope on having a normal life,” Clare remembers.
That is why bringing awareness to the topic is so important.
“You hear people talking about crazy [people] and things like that and…you know, we need to watch the language we use and the terms we use,” Tricia believes.
Clare stresses the importance of talking to someone you trust if you or a friend seems to be struggling.
“I think it’s important to confide in a friend, confide in a faculty member,” she says.
Today, Clare is doing better.
“I would definitely say I still struggle with my mental illness but not the degree that I have in the past. I have so much more control over my obsessions and my compulsions. I feel light and free.”
Here is a list of events for Mental Illness Awareness Week at Loras College:
– Thursday there will be free yoga in the ACC at 4:00 pm, as well as an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting at 7:00 pm in the Kehl Meeting Room in the ACC.
– Friday there will be an outing hosted by Breaking the Silence to a local apple orchard. Contact email@example.com for more information on a meeting time and place.
-Saturday morning a walk to raise awareness for suicide prevention will be held at 9:00 am. Registration begins at 8:00 am at the Bergfeld Recreation Area located in the Dubuque Industrial Park, 7600 Chavenelle Dr.