Stomp Out The Stigma: YU Students Combat Mental Illness

By: Shayna Darling  |  May 12, 2014

stigmaAccording to recent statistics, one in four adults is diagnosed with a form of mental illness. At Yeshiva University, as on other college campuses, many students struggle with depression, anxiety, OCD, or other forms of mental illness. On Tuesday, April 29th, four students— two from YC and two from Stern— bravely came forward to speak publicly about their battles with mental illness at “Stomp Out The Stigma”, an annual event hosted by the Active Minds Club and the Counseling Center.

The night began with some words from Active Minds President Sarah Robinson, who, along with Vice President Devorah Yarmush and Co-President Ely Mendelev, organized the event. Robinson described her experience planning the event as “very rewarding” and revealed that she hopes to expand the club next year. After the four students spoke, representatives from the YU Counseling Center reminded the audience of the services it provides to students.

Of the four students who spoke, two discussed their experiences with clinical depression; another student spoke about her experience with memory loss; and another, about living with borderline personality disorder, a condition that is commonly characterized by emotional instability, anger, unstable interpersonal relationships, and suicidal thoughts or behavior.

For many in the audience, the event was an eye-opener to the challenges fellow classmates face every single day. Tamar Buzaglo (’15) commented that she was “so inspired by the speakers and amazed at their courage to stand up and tell their stories.” The speakers made clear that mental illness is an illness like any other—it is one that can impair daily life, it is not completely curable, and if not treated, it can even be fatal.

However, instead of resigning themselves to their medical conditions, the four students who spoke told stories of perseverance and personal growth. “Stomp Out The Stigma” made it abundantly clear that while mental illness is not 100% curable, it can be treated—and one can still have a successful and happy life with a mental illness.

As long as mental illness remains a taboo topic, people who are suffering will often feel too embarrassed to ask for help. Events such as “Stomp out the Stigma” aim to turn the shame and misunderstanding often associated with mental illness into sympathy and acceptance. As one of the speakers, Marc Fein, stated, “I hope that students left with a greater understanding of mental illness, an awareness of the resources available to receive support, and an appreciation for the ability of individuals with mental illness to live full and happy lives.”

Active Minds is currently in the process of forming a new board for next year. Students who are interested are encouraged to contact Sarah Robinson sometime between now and the beginning of next semester.