Anxiety, depression, eating disorders and other mental health illnesses can affect anyone. These invisible disorders infiltrate the lives of many people—and that's what University of Iowa Active Minds leader, Astrid Montuclard, hopes to bring to light. True @ the U is a mental health awareness campaign focused on opening and expanding the dialogue around mental health concerns by encouraging students, faculty, staff, and community members to share their personal stories, advice, and calls to action.
"I think it's important because we always hear about these illnesses, but putting a face to those illnesses and concerns is important," said Montuclard. "It really shows that you can't see it on people's faces. It really humanizes and sends a message that it's okay to talk about mental health concerns."
Active Minds has been working with the University of Iowa Student Government (UISG), other Active Minds chapters, University Counseling Service, and the Center for Student Involvement & Leadership to record two to three minute True @ the U video clips where individuals will share their experiences with mental health. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5IKFCGKpgI&list=PLDhrFvVvgoI0TygegwaZRRNg6S9eTlRYr&index=1
Montuclard hopes the videos will be shared via social media and will encourage students to reach out and seek help. Getting people talking is the first crucial step.
"It's essential, a lot of students suffer because people don't talk about it, so they're not aware they have a mental health concern, and that these concerns are highly treatable - help is available!" Montuclard said.
The videos will be released twice weekly during the Fall 2016 semester. Montuclard hopes the campaign encourages university students, faculty, and staff members to keep the discussion going.
"I realize there are so many people that are okay with talking about their mental health concerns, but I've also realized that they are often not given a chance to talk about it. I think there should be more spaces on campus where students can gather together, and talk about these issues," she said.
True @ the U campaign videos will be released starting on October 3, 2016, as part of the National Day Without Stigma.