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WKU Hosting On-Campus Support Group for Students With Mental Health Issues

WKU Public Radio

Western Kentucky University students struggling with mental health issues can now tap into an on-campus support group.  

The National Alliance for Mental Illness is starting the free and confidential program which is available to students in all degree programs.

The group’s first meeting is Feb. 1 from 6:00-7:30pm in room 211 of the Academic Complex. Meetings will be held twice a month.

WKU Social Work Professor Jay Gabbard is the faculty member overseeing the group, along with trained NAMI staff.

He wants students to know that having a mental illness doesn’t mean they can’t succeed in school and in the workplace.

“I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was 20, and through management of the illness over the years I’ve managed to have a successful life,” Gabbard said. “But I think it’s best to utilize a three-pronged approach: medication, therapy, and support resources.”

Gabbard says those wanting to attend the sessions do not need a formal diagnosis of a mental illness.

He believes there is less stigma surrounding mental health issues now than in years past. He thinks medical research has helped better inform the public about the causes and impacts of mental illnesses.

“They can show the differences now between two individuals who have, for example, schizophrenia. They can show pictures of their brains, and show the differences in terms of their brain chemistry,” Gabbard said. “But I’m not sure that everybody in society accepts mental illness as completely legitimate.”

Those wanting more information about the NAMI campus support group at WKU can email Gabbard, or call his office at 745-8749.

Kevin is the News Director at WKU Public Radio. He has been with the station since 1999, and was previously the Assistant News Director, and also served as local host of Morning Edition.
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