May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The whole entire month is dedicated to raising awareness for such an important yet sadly, underrated issue. It has been shown that 1 in 4 people struggle with mental illness. That is a lot of people, so why is it still an issue that is often overlooked in today’s society? We should be doing everything that we can to help bring awareness and support to this incredibly important topic.
One way to get involved and help raise awareness right away is to join The Buddy Project! It is a non-profit movement founded by a college freshman, Gabby Frost, that aims to provide positivity, companionship, resources, and education all to help reduce the stigma of mental illness. If you want to learn more about the project as a whole you can check out their website, www.buddy-project.org.
If you are a Gustie you are in luck because “The Buddy Project” has been brought right to campus by first-year, Ella Napton!
I was able to ask Ella a few questions regarding the project:
What is the purpose behind bringing this project to Gustavus?
“Its purpose is to decrease the stigma behind mental illnesses on college campuses. Mental illnesses essentially run rampant on campuses across the country, yet they are still one of the least talked about things. I hope that it creates conversation about mental illnesses and allows students to feel less ‘ashamed’ and more open about their mental illnesses to foster a positive environment for discussion about mental illness.”
Why are you personally leading this campaign on campus?
“I am leading this campaign because mental health awareness is a cause that is very near and dear to my heart. I was diagnosed with depression and GAD (General Anxiety Disorder) a year ago and ever since have been very passionate about decreasing the stigma behind mental illness through my writing and now through bringing the Buddy Project campaign to Gustavus!”
How did you find out about the project?
“I found out about this campaign through The Buddy Project on Twitter. I have been participating in The Buddy Project for many years now and saw that they were interested in bringing this campaign (with the signs) to different colleges and I thought ‘why not me!?'”
How many people have you had participate so far and what is your goal?
“So far I have had 14 people participate in the campaign and at this point, I don’t really have a goal of how many people will participate but that I will be able to continue posting pictures at least weekly.”