Nursing students launch initiative to de-stigmatize mental illness

Senior nursing students in the College of Nursing at Ohio State have developed a comprehensive initiative designed to offer support to people with mental health issues, and give friends and family resources for providing assistance. They enlisted football Coach Urban Meyer, Vice President for Student Life Javaune Adams-Gaston, (“Dr. J.”), Vice President for Wellness Bernadette Melnyk, as well as dozens of students, to “pledge to help” via a video now posted on YouTube. A second video that provides a mental health First Aid Kit is also available.


Called “I will help you,” the program includes two online videos, a website, and four educational modules tailored specifically for educators, health care providers, law enforcement officials, and for anyone who wants to learn how to help. The modules provide guidance on how to identify individuals who may be struggling and how to assure them that they are not alone. The website also includes a module for anyone who may need help themselves and provides resources for these individuals.


“I wanted to provide guidance and allow the students the freedom to bring their own creativity to the issue,” said Kate Gawlik, assistant professor of Clinical Practice in the College of Nursing. A $5,000 curriculum grant provided the resources needed to create the videos and website.


As part of their final leadership class, the 81 students who worked on this project are envisioning an educated and supportive society in which individuals with mental health disorders will not feel alone. This initiative will spread awareness and provide skills and resources for friends and family to identify and assist individuals who are struggling with mental health issues. Everyone can join the initiative by taking the pledge to help those who are suffering, and pledge to heal if you are suffering.


The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that, in any given year, one in five adults in the United States will suffer with mental illness. This same prevalence is seen in teenagers as well. Many people do not seek help because of the perceived stigma attached to admitting they need assistance.


Visit the initiative website for more information and to take the pledge


You can also follow the initiative on social media:


Twitter: @IWillHelpYouOrg

Instagram: @i_will_help_you_initiative