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The Important Role of Community in Mental Health

By Gracie Dougherty Community support is one of the biggest factors in creating better lives for those who struggle with their mental health. A community that advocates for their members is one that is strong and loved. With the help of a community, those who are on a mental health journey can find the support and care that they need.  When a community comes together to spread awareness about mental health, the people within can feel both supported and heard. Communities can play an incredibly important role, as many places offer mental health centers and programs that provide plenty of effective services. Whether it be advocating for clients, spreading awareness, educating the community, or providing service to those who need...

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Mental Illness Doesn’t Discriminate and We Can’t Always Recognize It

By: Ashley Nowak When we think about mental illness we too often associate it with “those people;” people with serious, obvious issues. It is easier to believe if we can’t see it, then there is no problem.    The truth is mental illness can affect anyone and the signs are not always obvious. Those suffering from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, a trauma-related disorder, or an eating disorder, to name a few of the more common mental health issues, all have a huge spectrum of symptoms.  There are individuals who show obvious signs of mental illness. Avoiding friends and family, excessive and constant worry or sadness, and mood swings are clear red flags. Some may even be vocal about their symptoms,...

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Mental Health Doesn’t Care Who You Are

By Gracie Dougherty Despite the stigmas that surround people with mental health issues, mental health itself does not discriminate. Mental health doesn’t care who you are- it can affect anyone. Every ethnicity, every race, every economic status, every religion, every political affiliation. Society may care, but mental health and the corresponding illnesses do not care.  Nearly one in every four adults will experience some sort of mental illness during their lifetime, as well as nearly one in every five children will also experience difficulties in mental health. That’s a whole lot of people; clearly mental health does not care who you are. It can truly affect anyone. It’s important to understand that mental illness doesn’t occur in just one type...

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I Wish I Understood Depression

By Ashley Nowak I do not understand what it is like to be depressed. And with 16.2 million adults in the United States living with a form of depression (according to the National Institute of Mental Health), I wish more people, including myself, understood it better.  I cannot fully grasp depression but don’t get me wrong, I have a slew of other “issues.” Quotes intended. I continually fight unnerving anxiety, I suffered from body dysmorphia for several years, and I live with grief I cannot shake. But, I am not depressed. Depression is not just going through a tough time or being bummed out. Depression is a clinical disorder. It causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest....

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Mental Health in Wisconsin Teens: let's talk about it

By Ashley Nowak This time of year can be tough. Holidays are over, it is frigid cold, and summer seems so far away. With these despairing thoughts, it is the perfect time to talk about mental health.  According to the Wisconsin Youth Risk Behavior 2017 Survey (conducted by the Department of Public Instruction), 27% of Wisconsin high school students feel depressed, almost 40% suffer from anxiety, and 16.6% of students have self harmed. These numbers may be startling but they are our reality.  It may not be enjoyable but talking about it is super important. While it seems easier to suppress our own feelings or ignore the friend who has been acting different, doing this is only harder in the...

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