SAU Buzz

We are stigma free

by Jessica Lewis
Posted on Oct 05, 2017

Each year, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, aims to raise money and support for those who are mentally ill. The NAMI walk is a 5k that allows those in the community to show support for those with mental illness. NAMI’s slogan is “I am stigma free” or “stamp out stigma.”

Stigma is “a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.” Regarding mental health, stigma has been hard to remove. Stigma can prevent those who need help from seeking it because they may feel that it is embarrassing or not a real illness. NAMI attempts to crush the stigma by providing education on mental illness to those who may never have learned about it. The money that NAMI raises  during the walk stays local to improve advocacy and education in the community.

Hope Hammitt, a senior Criminal Justice and Forensic Psychology major at SAU, says, “I support NAMI to help fight the stigma on mental health,” SAU senior Hope Hammitt said. “I also support NAMI to help the public understand that mental illness is a true illness and needs to be addressed as a problem.”

This year’s NAMI walk had a large turnout. Over one thousand participants showed their support. The entire walk raised $93,412, with Team Ambrose raising $4,459 alone. They were the second largest fundraiser as well as the second largest team.

“Mental health is a big issue that so many people are quietly struggling with, each and every day all around us,” senior Elizabeth Braun said. “It's crucial that we connect them with helpful resources and support them to help erase the stigma connected with mental health.”

“I walked to give a voice to those mentally ill who are suffering in silence,” senior Philip Kindler said, discussing NAMI.

“I support NAMI because everyone knows someone with a mental disability,” said senior Marcy Boers when asked why she walked. “I have a mental disability. I have friends and family with a range of mental disabilities. Just because you don't see it, doesn't make it any less real.  The stigma needs to end.”

Students at St. Ambrose are passionate to help those who are affected by mental illness. Mental illness can be difficult to deal with and NAMI makes an effort to show how adequate education on the issue can alter the way we think about mental illness.


Students at the QC NAMI walk