NAMI Club Raises Awareness About Mental Health

Students seeking shelter can find it in the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one of the newest clubs meeting monthly on campus, as they talk about mental illness and health, raising awareness on the subject.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 44.7 million adults have a mental illness. That is 18.3 percent of the adult population.

Mental illnesses range from depression to dissociative personality disorder, and this club addresses all of them, including health conditions like insomnia and eating disorders.

There are no prerequisites to attend the meetings or join the club.

“Everyone is welcome,” NAMI Vice President Nick Cowan said.

Cowan recognizes that many understand how prominent mental illness is in society, and said this club serves to increase Liberty students’ awareness of mental illness and mental health.

President of NAMI, Sabrina Grohowski, explained they seek to address all mental illnesses because of their prominence. Grohowski herself has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.

The meetings vary in purpose. Some meetings are designed to increase understanding of mental illness and health with trivia games or by watching a movie that features them. During the February meeting, members participated in a trivia game involving mental illness. Divided into two teams, the groups tried to name a certain disorder or condition based on a description. After each question, Grohowski would explained the answers so that club members could learn.

According to Cowan, the goal for the meetings is to do something that engages people while informing them. For that reason, they let members of the club suggest ideas for meetings and events. Towards the end of last semester, the club held a “Destress Event” that taught coping techniques to lower and deal with stress for the upcoming final exams.

Ryan Shittul, a member of NAMI and graduate student, explained that this club is vital on campus because it reduces the stigma of mental health and mental illness. Some are afraid to talk about it because it is viewed as taboo, but this club can help them to be more open about mental illness and “start the healing.”

If one has any issues to resolve, Liberty University Student Counseling also offers a Celebrate Recovery program for students, addressing “any hurt, habit, or hang-up.” The program meets every Thursday from 7 – 9 p.m. in Demoss Hall Room 1134 and is open to all students.

NAMI typically meets the last Tuesday of every month, from 7 – 8 p.m. and are held in Demoss Hall Room 4410, but location can change depending on availability. If anyone is interested in joining the club or wants to know the location of the next meeting, they can email Grohowski at sgrohowski@liberty.edu.

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