On Monday, the Yeshiva University “Active Minds” club, a group dedicated to raising mental health awareness, brings their largest event of the year to campus.
Their “Stomp Out The Stigma” event is dedicated to challenging the taboo of mental health and educating people that struggling with mental health is not something they should be ashamed of.
The event invitation states, “Despite being a problem that affects 20% of Americans and millions more indirectly, mental illness is viewed by many as strange and insignificant.” This event serves to “normalize and destigmatize mental health and show us all that mental health is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.”
The event taking place on the Wilf Campus of Yeshiva university will feature 3 different students who will speak out about their personal struggle with mental illness.
Student Shanee Markovitz spoke at this year’s event: “Mental illness and mental health is extremely taboo, especially in the Jewish community, it’s something we don’t speak about,” she says. “There is a heavy stigma, and that’s extremely sad because we are leaving people behind and feeling stuck and it’s something we need to end.”
Shanee is no stranger to being a warrior for mental health illness. After she tragically lost her mom to suicide last year, Shanee began speaking out about mental health. She was studying in Israel where she teamed up with refuat hanefesh, a group dedicated to bringing mental health awareness with a special focus Jewish orthodox community. Dr. Ariel Mintz, the head and founder of the organization brought her on as vice president. Although stepping away from her role as vice president while coming to study at Yeshiva University, she is still a strong advocate for mental health awareness.
She is excited that she will be speaking on Monday. “I think it’s a really great opportunity,” she says. “Active Minds is giving me the chance to speak about mental health in the environment that I live in and the society that I belong to right now, which is Yeshiva University. I think it’s really important for people to break the silence within their respective communities. I hope that others can relate to me and feel like they are less alone in this process.”
Eitan Neiman, former president of the YU group, recounted his experience in a video released by the club. “Speaking at ‘Stomp Out The Stigma’, seeing all those people there, getting the opportunity to look directly in the eye of somebody who has concerns maybe about themselves, a family member or somebody they know, to be able to give them hope I don’t think there is a more meaningful thing, I could’ve hoped to do.”
“The stigma is strong and the stigma is real.” Neiman says. “People prefer not to get treatments for fear that they will be somehow shown as weaker or inferior. We’re here to tell them no, there is no weakness about having a mental illness.”
The event will take place on Monday April 16th, at 8:00 pm, on Wilf campus in the Furst building, room 501.