The month of May celebrates Mental Health Month. As the month is coming to a close, I decided to share a story about a man who overcame numerous obstacles after being diagnosed with a mental illness. Santa Ono, president of the University of Cincinnati, provides a story that provides hope for anyone that has a mental illness. The road Ono had was not an easy one and wants to erase the stigma attached to the mental illnesses. After being diagnosed with depression and surviving two suicide attempts Ono wants to make a difference in a positive manner. He states: “There’s light at the end of the tunnel. If you have the proper counseling and support, it’s really possible for you to move past that and move back into functioning life.”
After the unexpected death of University of Cincinnati student Brogan Dulle in May 2014, Ono wants to send the message that depression is treatable, and sufferers can move on with life. One event he recalls was speaking to teens about his suicide attempts: “When I was 14, I locked myself in my bedroom and tried to overdose on cold medication and beer. He attempted suicide again in his late 20s.” After the event, he went to Twitter to tell about his two suicide attempts letting people know it will be okay in the long run: “Speaking at the event, I reached a couple hundred people and I felt that if I really wanted to break the silence, the right thing to do was to take advantage of the fact that I communicate with a lot of people over Twitter and social media. I wanted to get that message out to a broader audience.”
He also adds on about the students of the University of Cincinnati: “Our students really are an inspiration to me. Many of them have seen someone commit suicide. People are much more aware of what’s happening, and that’s a good thing. It’s motivating them to do something about it. That’s motivating them to demand adults and leaders within organizations to do something about it.”
It is very important to know about the fundamental facts about mental illness and ending the stigma that goes along with it. There are people that suffer from mental illness everyday and most of them have no support which makes it harder to find proper treatment.
Be an Advocate and Break the Stigma starting today!