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Thursday, May 23
The Indiana Daily Student

IUSA to launch mental health campaign

After dealing with mental health issues for years, IU freshman Maggie Hopkins, finally realized she wasn’t alone.

As an IU Student Association freshman intern, Hopkins decided to use past experiences to focus on creating a mental health campaign for IU.

IUSA is partnering with the Interfraternity Council, the Panhellenic Association and U Bring Change 2 Mind to create a campaign entitled “How Are You?”

The campaign will start with a two-minute video consisting of about 15 student leaders talking about mental health. They will each hold up a white board with the words “How Are You?” written in their own handwriting. They hope to release the video during the week of Little 500.

Nearly 2,500 IU students were diagnosed with depression in 2015 and more than 2,200 with anxiety, according to information gathered from IU Counseling and Psychological Services for a story published in the Indiana Daily Student last December.

IUSA is trying to have a diverse range of people in the video, Hopkins said.

“The way I see it is if I were to see this video and I even saw one person I knew who was willing to publicly support this, maybe I’d be more willing to talk to someone about my mental health issue,” Hopkins said.

The video will focus on changing stigmas and giving the question “How are you?” a meaning again.

David Haggerty, president of U Bring Change 2 Mind, said there’s a lack of understanding and miscommunication when it comes to mental health topics, especially from the media and personal perceptions.

“Collaborating with groups that do research helps provide a more honest conversation about the problems we face and how to overcome them,” Haggerty said.

Hopkins said there are a lot of small mental health initiatives across different groups on campus.

Bringing these groups together to create a collective, campus-wide approach to reducing the stigma surrounding mental health is a purpose of the campaign, Hopkins said.

“When multiple groups and organizations come together, it decreases the taboo around it and the messaging reaches more people,” Haggerty said.

Reaching out to as many people as possible is a big goal of the campaign, Hopkins said.

Haggerty said his hope for this video is people can see it and realize how widespread mental health problems can be in their lives.

“Hopefully, they do stop and take the time to ask how their family and friends are on a deeper level,” 
Haggerty said.

While the campaign is beginning with the video, Hopkins has plans to continue it into the future. One idea she has is to create a Humans of New York-style Instagram campaign where IUSA would profile students who have stories about their mental illnesses.

Each ticket running for IUSA election will likely want this campaign to continue on into the future, Hopkins said.

“I definitely don’t want this to be something that ends here,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins said it’s important for people on IU’s campus dealing with mental health issues to know they’re not alone.

“The more I looked into it, the more I realized we can do better,” Hopkins said. “I just want to make the dialogue as open as possible.”

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