A group to raise awareness about mental health issues on campus will begin to meet starting in the spring semester.
Kasidi Gorneau, a junior advertising and public relations pre-law major from Meridian, said she wants the group to be a safe space and support system for students.
“I am extremely passionate about mental health because I have loved ones who have battled with it as well as myself, so I can personally say that mental illnesses are just as serious as physical ones,” said Gorneau. “They impact every aspect of your life: social, educational, religious, everything.”
Reducing the stigmas that surround the idea of a mental health disorder is one of Gorneau’s goals in starting this group. She said she believes that they can make young adults scared to share the issues going on in their life, therefore making it more difficult to receive help.
Becoming a Christ-like support group for peers is also one of Gorneau’s goals for students suffering from a mental illness.
“Sometimes just knowing that there are people who are going through similar issues just helps you feel less alone,” Gorneau said. “I don’t want to exclude anyone, so I would also like for this to be a safe and educational place for people who possibly have a family member or friend that are having some mental health issues to get more information on how to be supportive and how to deal with that themselves.
One student who is ready to join the group right away is Kaitlynd Satterfield, a sophomore sociology major from Arlington.
“I believe that there are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to mental health,” Satterfield said. “It’s either not taken seriously when it should or abused for attention.”
In a study done by the National Alliance for Mental Illness, almost one out of every five college students are going through some sort of mental health difficulties, and 64 percent of college drop-outs say it was due to a mental health issue.
“I think it is important to have something like this on our campus because it would be a source of encouragement for students who are battling certain things, and it could potentially help lessen dropout rates and improve the school’s overall grades,” Gorneau said.
There are no set plans. However, interest meetings involving details for the group will start this semester, and beginning in the spring the group will be an official student organization on campus.