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Last Thursday March 30th 2017, Painted Brain contributors set up a table at USC’s AIM for Mental Health Rally. It was a beautiful sunny day at USC’s Alumni Park. The atmosphere was welcoming and warm. At least 20 mental health programs were represented. Students flocked to each table wanting to learn more about each and every resource, while others laid basking in the sun munching on their free burritos and listening to the speakers.
Elyn Saks beamed from the small stage captivating her audience. She spoke about her experience with schizophrenia and talked about how she used to not believe in taking medication, but now is a convert. She highlighted the stark truth that people who are in the hospital for physical illnesses receive flowers, while those who are hospitalized for psychiatric reasons do not. Her message shone through that we must fight against the stigma of mental illness so that people experiencing symptoms are not afraid or ashamed to seek help.
These rallies are of utmost importance to spreading awareness and educating people on mental illness. If we walk for cancer and AIDS, we also need to walk for Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia. We need to continue to create warm and welcoming public events to encourage people to come together to support our brothers and sisters and let them know they are not alone in their struggles.