Exhibit brings illness to light

Recognizing mental illness can be difficult, but “NAMI, Utah has an online program to help struggling teens. MICKELLE YEATES photo illustration

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>Recognizing signs of pain and emotional distress can be difficult for a family to cope with and understand. Though a large portion of Americans deal with a mental illness, a larger portion of the population doesn’t understand the idea and what it’s like to have one of these illnesses, according to the American Psychological Association.</span></p>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>A study found 44 percent of the public report knowing a little or almost nothing at all about mental illnesses.</span></p>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>Nothing to Hide is a traveling photo exhibit set up on the second floor of the <span>TSC</span> from Jan. 17-24. It brings attention to various illnesses families cope with. The objective of the presentation is to disarm negative stereotypes about these mental illnesses. </span></p>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>“The exhibit is kind of normal, everyday people and families that have had or are still going through mental illness,” said Recovery Education and Creative Healing Peer Eric Richardson. “You’re seeing pictures of people who look just like you. You’re hearing stories of how they’ve gone through these hard times, but they also have normal lives.”</span></p>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>Designed to teach students various skills to help them deal with mental illnesses, the REACH Peer program brought the exhibit to <span>USU</span> because of a complaint.</span></p>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>Though he knows little about the origin of the complaint, Richardson said he felt the need to address the issue.</span></p>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>“There was a complaint about insensitivity about mental illness,” Richardson said. “That’s pretty much all I know. As far as I know, I’m not sure if the complaint came from a student or came from faculty. We wanted to put on an event to educate people about mental illness and personalize it.”</span></p>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>Trying to personalize a mental illness can be difficult, but Richardson said a specific photograph gives the audience a personal meaning.</span></p>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>“There’s a picture of this little girl that we’ll be putting up, and it’s a picture of her talking about how she’s kind of gone through the troubles of having a mental illness, but she also likes to play with her kitties,” Richardson said. “It’s kind of just putting into perspective. Although they have a mental illness, they’re just like us.”</span></p>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>According to the American Psychological Association, about one in five Americans suffer from a mental disorder.</span></p>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>REACH coordinator Eric Everson explained the concern people may have with their own mental illness.</span></p>

<p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>To read the rest of this article in its entirety, visit the <a href=”http://www.usustatesman.com/exhibit-brings-illness-to-light-1.2804864#.UQF4f_JZOSo” target=”_blank”>Utah Statesman website</a>.</p><p class=”p2″></span></p>

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