Last Wednesday, Oct.9, the University of Findlay held a “Mental Health Awareness Night”, where students could listen to speakers about their own personal struggles with mental disease, as well as ask them questions about how they have coped with their mental health struggles. The speakers, Eric Chase and Megan Scott, went very in-depth about their personal struggles as well as how they hope these events can help bring awareness to those that need help.
Chase says that by going to different places across Northwest Ohio to do these events, it makes the discussion about mental illnesses easier to have.
“Talk about it [mental health]. The more you talk about it, the easier it becomes,” said Chase. “There are a lot of things that we have wanted to talk about for a long time and we’ve made them important to talk about because we see it helps people out.”
One of the issues about have the discussion about mental illness is that people think it is cookie-cutter and each person has the same symptoms. Scott says that simply isn’t true and that it changes from person to person.
“I think it’s because it’s [mental illness] so subjective. When someone has diabetes or heart disease, it is very objective. You can see a test or see sores [and see you have the disease],” said Scott. “But mental health is very subjective. It’s based on what someone says or how they feel, and you don’t always see it.”
Much like Scott, Chase believes that the stigma of mental health comes from not being able to see it in front of you. But he also says that television and movies portray mental illness in a bad light.
“Unfortunately, what we see on movies and TV [contributes to the stigma]. We think everybody that has a mental illness is wearing a purple suit and makeup, or they’re going to walk into a school and shoot people.,” said Chase. “A person with a mental illness looks like the three of us.”
The controversial movie, Joker, was brought up at the event. As a person who struggles with mental illness, Chase said the movie portrayed the struggles of mental health very well. He recognizes that some people may get the wrong impression about Joker.
“Somebody might go in there, like an incel-type of person, might go an act like an idiot or do something awful,” said Chase.
But for Chase, Joker did a wonderful job showcasing how someone struggles with mental health.
“The thing that really excited me [about Joker], was when he was talking to a social worker and he goes ‘You just ask me the same questions week after week,” said Chase. “That’s when I knew that this was going to be a good mental health movie.”
As for why Scott does these talks, she thinks by doing it, the overall discussion about mental health will be easier for people to swallow. But it also helps her with her own battle.
“It’s almost like a different type of therapy, it’s very cathartic,” said Scott “To be able to be open about it versus not hiding it, but it’s awkward to be so open about in your everyday life, but I am [open about her battle with mental illness].”
It can be hard to talk about it, but with people like Chase and Scott in the world, the conversation about mental illness can be just a little easier.
If you or anyone else is struggling with mental health problems, don’t be afraid to reach out to Counseling Services on campus or call the national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255.