MSW Student Association creates poster on mental illness and the role friends can play in the recovery process

As part of a two-step strategy, the Master of Social Work Student Association of the Indiana University School of Social Work, has created an information poster about mental illness, treatment available to college students and the key role friends can play in the recovery process.

The MSW student association received a $1,200 grant from the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance of Indiana (DBSAI).  The students used the funds to create the poster and worked with IUPUI Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and DBSAI to host a panel discussion, “Friend Talk: Understanding the Effects of Depression and Bipolar on Students” at the Campus Center on April 7th. The grant also created a temporary job for a student with a mental diagnosis to work on coordinating the project.

“The purpose of the project is to raise awareness among college students regarding the stigma for receiving mental health treatment,” Chris Strait, president of the MSW Student Association.

PosterThe poster, entitled “Friends are Key to Recovery” notes that “Friends are a key component in recovery and you can help a friend by asking questions, showing respect, offering companionship and emotional support and being responsive.” It details signs and symptoms of depression and bipolar disorder as well as information about treatment options, accessing service and resources. The poster will be distributed around the IUPUI Campus.

During the panel discussion, Mike Hines, a psychologist with CAPS explained the CAPS office is a resource for IUPUI students and provides mental health services. “We see students for a wide range of concerns, including adjustment, depression, anxiety, bipolar, and relationship concerns.” The services are priced with students in mind, he added. Students pay an initial $15 application fee for an intake session and six counseling sessions. After that students are charged $10 for a session.

As far as the stigma related to mental illness, society has come a long way compared to where it once was, but society still has an “incredibly long way to go,” Hines said. “There is still a lot of societal stigma for what it means for anyone to have a mental health concern.”

Social stigma becomes internalized and then these become beliefs that people hold about themselves to any mental heal concern they might be dealing with at that moment, Hines explained. “I think what makes that so unfortunate is it leads to isolation and decreased likelihood that a person will reach out and access the services and support that they need at that moment.”

Representatives from other groups participating in the panel discussion included: Brenda Hamilton, Executive Director of the Indiana Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, Donna Yancey, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Indianapolis Board President, Kris Griffin, Mental Health Ombudsmen for Indiana, Mental Health America, Leland Stephan, Director, SMI Services, Community Health Network Behavioral Health Services and Beth Karnes of Mental Health America.

Press Release Contact:
Rob Schneider
(317) 278-0303