Musical Event Promotes Mental Health Awareness
“All of us know somebody who faces a mental health issue, so taking part in this event will help us better understand these issues.” — Marcy Gilstad
The student organization Active Minds hopes to raise awareness of mental health issues by sponsoring a campus visit by the non-profit group To Write Love On Her Arms.
TWLOHA founder Jamie Tworkowski will speak on themes of pain, hope and community at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 22 in the Dunning Memorial Chapel at Alma College. Musician Stephen McMorran of Satellite also will perform. Admission is free and open to the public.
The mission of TWLOHA is “to present hope and find help for those struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. Through music, words and open discussion, TWLOHA seeks to inform, encourage, and inspire all who encounter these issues.”
Midland senior Marcy Gilstad, the founder of the Alma College chapter of Active Minds, helped organize TWLOHA’s visit to Alma.
“I heard about Active Minds at a suicide prevention talk the summer of my freshman year and, over the course of the next year, I realized I needed Active Minds and so did my campus,” she says. “TWLOHA specifically draws attention to issues of self-injury and suicide and makes them socially acceptable to discuss.”
Katie Nakken, the event coordinator for TWLOHA, is eager for the organization to share its vision with Alma College students.
“We believe in community and the power that comes from knowing others and letting them know you,” says Nakken. “Our events are about conversations and truth, but more importantly, people. We hope that by creating a place where these things are present, it can be the start of communities and conversations that last beyond our event, while encouraging honesty and understanding in relationships that already exist.”
Nakken adds that a fundamental way of creating this lasting impression is through musical performance.
“We believe in music and how songs can relate to a person’s situation, maybe better than anything else ever has,” she says. “Combining the message of TWLOHA with music, we hope people feel inspired and perhaps a little less alone in the struggles of life.”
In addition to hosting TWLOHA, Active Minds also is encouraging Alma College faculty to have conversations with students about mental health issues. Throughout the school year, the student-run group is dedicated to promoting mental health awareness education and advocacy with the aim of reducing the stigma around mental illness.
“All of us know somebody who faces a mental health issue, so taking part in this event will help us better understand these issues,” says Gilstad.
Posted: Fri, September 17th, 2010 at 1:23PM