Breaking the Stigma on Mental Health

Tara Bailey

Active Minds, a student organization which has been on campus since 2011, hopes to start an open discussion on mental health and to break the stigma that surrounds it.

“In order to get rid of the stigma, there first has to be a conversation about it. Talking about stigma will raise awareness and get people familiar with the mental health disorders, ways to discuss the disorders in a non-judgmental way, and what it means to be healthy not just physically, but mentally too,” Jasmine Parker, the president of the Active Minds organization at Georgia Southern Unives, said.

Active Minds’ goal is to educate people about mental health so that it will end the negative stereotypes and misperceptions about mental disorders.

“I do believe educating people will end the stigma. It is found that stigma has a detrimental effect on treatment outcomes and hinders efficient and effective recovery from mental health problems,” Parker said. “When you are informed about things, you have a more open mind, and if people knew that 1 in 4 adults have a mental disorder… then there would be more conversations about mental health, better access to resources and hopefully help from many.”

These misunderstandings can also make people who have a mental illness feel isolated from others.

“People might not like talking about it, especially if they’re diagnosed with it, because they might worry that other people wouldn’t relate,” Molly Ziblut, sophomore psychology major, said.

The Active Minds organization meets twice a month on Tuesdays at Russell Union in room 2054 to discuss upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, and mental health information and awareness.

To find more information about breaking the mental health stigma or about the GSU organization, visit www.activeminds.org or the GSU myinvolvement page.