National Alliance on Mental Illness and CAPS partner to create “NAMI on Campus”


Daily file photo by Kate Salvidio

Counseling and Psychological Services. CAPS partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness to create “NAMI on Campus”.

Gabby Birenbaum, Campus Editor

Northwestern University Counseling and Psychological Services and the National Alliance on Mental Illness – Cook County North Suburban announced the creation of “NAMI on Campus,” a joint initiative to raise awareness about and advocate for student mental health needs, according to a Tuesday news release.

Weinberg senior Carlie Cope and Bienen senior Tina Zheng began working on starting the chapter last May. After a year of planning, the NAMI chapter is set to launch this May, in time for Mental Health Awareness Month.

“I am thrilled to bring a student-centered resource to campus where students who struggle with mental health problems regularly, who want to learn more about how to maintain their mental health, who are struggling to cope with finals or an unfortunate life event, or just students who are having a bad week can come and listen, be listened to, and feel safe amongst students who are going through similar trials,” Cope said in the release.

The initiative is emblematic of the increasing responsibility students have assumed in caring for their own mental health. Students have repeatedly expressed concern about what they call a pattern of apathy and inaction from administrators, though the University has in recent months shown greater attention to the issue.

NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization, whose mission is to raise awareness about, provide support for and educate about those affected by mental illness. The organization also provides group support programs for people with mental illnesses and their families in the northern suburbs of Cook County.

In their partnership with NAMI, CAPS employees John Dunkle, the executive director, and Steven Andrews, a member of CAPS staff, will serve as advisors for the program.

Dr. Steve Arkin, a Northwestern parent and NAMI supporter, also partnered with CAPS to bring the program to life.

“As a Northwestern alumnus and the father of Jason Arkin, who died by suicide on Northwestern’s campus in 2015, I am proud of the students and administration working together to take the next step to give students a safe on-campus resource for additional peer-to-peer to complement psychological services,” Arkin said in the release.

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