Augie student kicks off campaign for mental health

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois-- A junior at Augustana College is starting a campaign to raise awareness and erase the stigma of mental illness.

Haley DeGreve says she's had to watch several close friends struggle with mental illness.

"Seeing someone that I care about struggle, it's probably one of the hardest things you have to watch," DeGreve says. "I have one of my best friends who has attempted suicide in the past, and it breaks my heart to see that happen."

So with the help of Augustana administrators and friend, DeGreve organized the Gray Matter Campaign, kicking off the initiative Tuesday, February 5.

DeGreve brought in several speakers, including the college's new Director of Counseling Dr. Bill Iavarone and Kevin Atwood of Foster's Voice. DeGreve says the most important step in changing ideas about mental health is to start talking about it.

Photos of students with encouraging quotes will also be going up around campus.

"We want anyone to know if they're struggling with something, that there are so many resources for them, and there are so many opportunities to grow, and so many administrators are going to be here to support you," she says.

DeGreve is planning more events in the future, including sessions with groups and counselors, as well as screening documentaries about mental health.

For more information or to get help, visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

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