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CW Post Students Combat the Stigma of Mental Illness

In support of Mental Illness Awareness week (October 2-9, 2010) CW Post Health & Education Majors raised $862.86 for NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Queens/Nassau while raising awareness on campus about mental illness.

“The impetus for the fundraiser was a talk Lorraine Kaplan, Breaking the Silence; Teaching the Next Generation About Mental Illness (BTS) co-author, gave to our methods class about the need to educate all students about mental illness. Kaplan introduced the class to the innovative BTS teaching materials and shared her moving personal story about her son’s mental illness. She explained that her son’s psychiatrist told her not to tell anyone that her son had schizophrenia. (If she did, no one would ever look at her son or her family in the same way again.) Unfortunately, until finding NAMI, she did just that and suffered in silence. The entire class was captivated and became very passionate about helping those suffering with mental illness. We immediately formed a 2010 NAMIWalks team but wanted to do more. With the support of Professor Gail Weintraub and campus administration, the Health, Physical Education, and Movement Science Majors Club was determined to raise awareness on campus and funds for NAMI Queens/Nassau”, shared Elyssa Pascrella, President of the Health, Physical Education, and Movement Science Majors Club at C.W. Post.

“Stigma alone keeps many from getting the help they need. As a health educator, I am aware of the importance of educating our young people about cancer, diabetes, AIDS and other significant illnesses. Why are we not talking about mental illnesses like OCD, depression and schizophrenia too? I am hopeful that raising awareness on the CW Post campus is just the beginning and that students, faculty, and parents will become aware of the need to shed light on mental illnesses that affect one in four,” explains Gail Weintraub, Coordinator of Teacher Preparation in Health, Physical Education, and Movement Science.

NAMI is a nationwide non-profit, grassroots, self-help and advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of all those affected by severe mental illness. For information on NAMI visit www. or call NAMI Queens/ Nassau at 326-0797. For more information on NAMIWalks visit walks/ny/longisland.