Mental health stigma reduced when experiences are openly shared

Sharing is caring—Lisbeth Coiman, teacher and writer shares help available to students seeking mental health.

By Teresa Acosta

Understanding the signs of mental illness and how to help those with it, is an important step in mental illness distinction.
Members from the National Alliance on Mental Illness shared their personal journeys through the trials of mental illness on Monday.
The Student Health Center in an effort to reduce the stigma of mental illness, hosted a workshop titled, “In Our Own Voice.”
Author and teacher Lisbeth Coiman who admits loving to hike, garden and dance salsa in her free time, offered insights that provide support in the roles that matter to each of us.
She said mental health affects not only the person, but the people around them as well. Her presentation was broken down into three sections, each starting with a video clip of other people discussing each section.
Presenters talked about what they went through with their conditions.
“What Happened?” uses where people discussed what their mental illness diagnosis is, how it was affecting their lives and what led to it.
Seeing examples of behaviors associated with mental illness helps people recognize possible warning signs to look for, Coiman said.
Some behaviors mentioned were self-harming, insomnia and suicidal thoughts. We’re all connected to mental illness.
After each video clip the presenters would share their own life experiences.
The “What helps?” video clips provided tools, techniques and methods that helped get their mental health under control and to maintain the progress they were achieving.
The panel shared the resources and information on programs and help that is available.
Coiman said they represented things students can turn to when in crisis.
She said, continuing to assess oneself and continuing to use the tools and resources available may help maintain mental well-being. As a part of the “What’s next?” section Coiman said she continues to struggle to have balance in her life.
She said she now has the tools and knows what to do when she feels unwell.
Writing is one of the ways she preserves her mental health.
the National Alliance on Mental Illness is an organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness.
It provides different types of courses for those struggling with mental health. It also has courses to help those around a person with mental illness know how to cope with and support them.
Coiman said, “In Our Own Voice,” is about sharing stories with the hope that this will help someone listening take the necessary steps to get help they need.
For more information about NAMI students can visit or the Student Health Center in building F5.

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