by Grace Dobson
A club that we have on campus that not everyone knows enough about is NAMI, which stands for National Alliance on Mental Illness. The organization was founded by a family of a boy with schizophrenia and started off as an effort to provide support to college students, dealing with more than just mental health illness issues such as depression and anxiety.
Our NAMI chapter at GC has hosted events like splatter painting, brain teasers and events to make stress balls to destress college students. The program is led by students with support from professors. Students know firsthand how important being supported is to a student’s success. The organization seeks to meet college students where they are in life with continued support and confidence. The first step is educating students, next is advocating and then aiding. This includes continuing to break mental health stigma, especially in Greensboro’s athletics.
“From the start of joining, all of my ideas were validated and supported,” said Isabella Ruiz, a senior who recently joined NAMI. “I enjoy working with a group of people to bring awareness to mental health and also to help provide activities to help people distress for a little bit and to provide a safe space for those who need to talk about something or are suffering from their mental health.”
Ruiz details that the group atmosphere is very accepting and supportive through engagement.
“I was introduced to NAMI by Dr. Sheridan,” said sophomore Liya Veale. “She felt I would be a good president of the college’s chapter. As someone interested in becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and who has a few diagnoses myself, mental health is so incredibly important to me and navigating it is a daily priority of mine. The club is very needed – the topic of mental health touches everyone [on campus], students of every major. It is a club that can be incredibly inclusive, and I know that because it was a success before covid! As the new generation continues to destigmatize the conversation of mental health, it is so great to be able to contribute as well through events and interacting with the community.”
NAMI seeks to provide an inclusive environment for college students. Since mental health affects a large portion of life, from anxieties about grades to fears of college and life in general, this organization provides an outlet for support. NAMI is always seeking and accepting