5k for mental health awareness moved from Park Ridge to Evanston

Catherine Kim, Development and Recruitment Editor

The National Alliance on Mental Illness will hold a 5k race, which has previously been held in Park Ridge, Illinois, on Clark Street Beach this Sunday to raise awareness about mental illness.

The NAMI Cook County North Suburban 5K RUN WALK, which will begin at 8 a.m., is part of a national series of races held by NAMI during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, which is September. Steven Arkin will speak at the 5k in Evanston to honor his son, Jason Arkin, who took his own life in 2015 while attending Northwestern.

NAMI received authorization from the University and the city to hold the race on Clark Street Beach, Arkin said.

“It is important for me to have a presence on campus of this type of organization and this type of representation and awareness to go along with the National Suicide Prevention (Awareness) Month,” Arkin said.

Arkin said he hopes the University will implement a screening system for mental health issues so that all students can receive the services they need to assimilate to a new atmosphere. It is also important for organizations on campus to identify students who are at risk so that there is a crisis plan in place, he said.

He added that the University has made a positive change by lifting the 12-session limit at Counseling and Psychological Services. It is important to provide as much help as possible on campus because some students lack the resources to seek private help, Arkin said.

“Northwestern is great, and I think that they can expand on that greatness by being completely open about the fact that there are students that have mental illnesses and to protect them once they get onto campus,” he said.

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