After coming home from my first semester of college, my mother peppered me with questions about my physical health. In addition to a plethora of other concerns that were ostensibly leading to my untimely demise, my face had apparently dropped weight, my posture turned decrepit and my body was now sluggish. Halfheartedly amused, I patiently listened and reassured her that I would eat more “vitamin” gummy bears and begin drinking lemon tea. My mother’s concern for my health was endearing. Among all the fuss over my physical health, however, I thought it odd that my mental health was not once brought up in conversation – was, essentially, putatively healthy.
Admittedly, I had not realized the profound issue of mental health until having been exposed to such experiences during college, an often pressure-cooker of habitual anxiety and stress. When someone tells you a statistic about the number of suicides that occur a year, it makes you uneasy. When a student of the college you attend kills himself, the event impacts you in a more intimate way. During my first weeks in college, we attended required mental health workshops which informed us of mental health resources on campus and how to deal with such situations. We had a mental health week during October. Although I am lucky enough to attend a college which actively works to create open dialogue on mental health and have resources available to students, I realize this is not the reality for everyone.
There are innumerable articles online addressing the issue of mental health and how to combat it; a quick google search can engender numerous sites with treatment options, points of discussion and resources. But often, dealing with mental illness can be an alienating and lonely journey that online computer resources seem like a distant reach, void of human sensibility and empathy. Mental health is a complex issue backed by testaments of struggle, survival, surviving and it is an issue with nuances that I can only begin to understand. Nevertheless, if we – the community – care, we should collaborate to create an open environment receptive to actively combatting these problems.
Raise4aCause is a nonprofit organization dedicated to tackling physical and mental health issues. Hopefully, we as a nonprofit do not lose sight of this original vision as we attempt to host events to raise money for these issues. Over the course of the year, Raise4aCause will be planning for events with one goal in mind: to let those struggling in health - physical or mental - know that we are with them in solidarity.