Although Stanislaus State senior Marnye Henry is set to graduate this semester, she said that she could not justify leaving without first starting a NAMI on Campus club to help her peers who need support with mental health disorders.
“Mental health is still not talked about like it needs to be,” said Henry, who is currently the club’s president. “Having our presence on campus provides a doorway to walk through to change their lives and get help.
“This is something I’ve always wanted to do,” continued Henry.
Prior to starting NAMI on Campus in October, Henry has been an advocate for NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and a campus facilitator for NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group, which is a peer-led support groups for adults living with mental illness.
“I saw the need to have a NAMI on Campus here because there is a stigma surrounding mental health disorders,” said Henry. “I want to help students with depression or anxiety overcome their barriers and gain academic success.”
NAMI on Campus clubs are student-led and student-run groups that focus on mental health on college campuses like Stanislaus State. Members help raise mental health awareness with fairs, walks and candlelight vigils; educate the campus with presentations, guest speakers and student panels; advocate for improved mental health services and policies on campus; and support peers with NAMI programs.
“We will be raising mental health awareness by educating the campus community and connecting students to supportive services,” said Henry. “Mental health still has a lot of barriers to climb.”
One in five students face a mental health condition, according to NAMI, and nearly three-quarters of mental health conditions emerge by the time an individual is 24 years old, which means that many college students are facing mental health concerns for the first time and may not know where to go for support.
“I think that having this club offers many unique aspects to a student struggling with mental health,” said Henry. “I think many students that are living with mental health conditions don’t get help and their concern is with the stigma. We want to erase that stigma.”
For more information about the NAMI on Campus club, email Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org.