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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Walking to Stamp Out the Stigma of Mental Illness

    Mental illness afflicts more than 54 million Americans in any given year, butfewer than 8 million seek treatment. Depression, anxiety disorder, anorexiaand personality disorders all fall under the umbrella of mental illness.

    Mental health issues are largely ignored because of the shame associated withsuffering from mental or emotional difficulties. Insulting labels are oftenapplied to individuals who experience disorders like manic depression or schizophreniabecause of the diseases’ affects on an individual’s behavior.

    Dan Rocco, an occupational therapist at Stony Brook Hospital, has been workingto raise awareness and ‘stamp out stigma’ attached mental illness.He cited a variety of programs on Long Island that offer assistance to peoplestruggling with mental problems.

    ‘[We want] to show how productive people with mental illness can be,’Rocco said. ‘There are stepping stones allowing them to get back to thenormalcy of their lives.’

    Rocco is organizing ‘Team Stony Brook’ for the upcoming Long IslandWalk for Mental Health, a not-for-profit event intended to heighten awarenessand acceptance of those with mental illness. The walk is sponsored by the MentalHealth Association of Suffolk County.

    Food, music, raffles and giveaways are all part of the Sun., June 2 affair.The walk is short, but its purpose is huge, Rocco said. ‘It’s very worthwhile.’

    Conditions like depression or anxiety disorder are sometimes hard to identify.They often manifest themselves physically, leading sufferers to believe thatthey are the victims of some other ailment.. In fact, according to the CollaborativeFamily Healthcare Coalition, up to one-half of all visits to primary care physiciansare due to conditions that are caused or exacerbated by mental or emotionalproblems.

    Mental illness can have a huge impact on an individual’s ability to functionnormally at work, school, or in interactions with friends and family. But helpis available through an assortment of support programs on campus and in theimmediate surrounding area.

    For more information about mental health resources, contact StonyBrook Counseling Center at 632-6720or go to the second floor of the Student Health Center. To join Team Stony Brookin the Long Island Walk for Mental Health, contact DanRocco at 444-3815.

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