The National Alliance for Mental Illness on Campus provides mental health, education, and advocacy support to students. The organization, which has different chapters on Wake County and other campuses, meets biweekly and focuses on different mental illnesses each meeting in hopes of raising awareness and educating the student population.
Ambrose McNally, a fourth-year psychology student and chapter president of the organization, said the organization tries to host fun and creative events while prioritizing the education of students and members.
“We do de-stress events during finals where people can get involved in different crafts and activities, but we also do in-class presentations on how people can make their own self-care plan or support someone with suicidal thoughts,” McNally said. “We have meetings every two weeks and will do a QRP – question, persuade, escalate – on March 9th with our members.”
McNally said the group’s impact has been far-reaching and has already made a big impact on campus.
“I really feel like we’ve made an impact on campus and that’s influential to me and the kind of work I want to do in the future,” said McNally. “Being able to find like-minded people, publicize and share sources, and connect has been really influential.”
McNally also said that given the mental health crises and student deaths on campus this year, it is important that the university and on-campus organizations do as much as possible to raise awareness among students about the difficulties they are facing and how to help others.
“I think mental health education needs to be engaging to be effective,” said McNally. “Students need to be educated about the different resources we have on campus so they can keep them in mind. Many students are not having their basic needs met, and [the university] offers some help for this, but sometimes it is not enough.”
McNally and other chapter members have been working hard recently to help the university provide more educational opportunities directly to students.
“We’re always working on our presentations to make them more engaging for students, so we’re not just talking to them,” McNally said. “It’s a difficult balance, but we’re really working on it and open to feedback on it.”
Students can get involved with the National Alliance on Mental Illness by attending one of their fortnightly meetings on Thursday nights and stay up-to-date by following group guidelines Instagram@nami.ncsu.
William Martin, a fourth-year computer engineering student, said he thinks the university needs to do more to help struggling students.
“I think the university needs more resources if the situation is the same as it was two years ago,” said Martin. “My experience [at the Counseling Center] it was a long waiting list to speak to someone, which was disheartening. I think there must be better solutions than mid-week mental health days for students, as this often leads to days without lectures but more work.”