The 2013-14 Common Experience program will explore how perceptions of mental health and illness affect our thinking, laws, actions, and quality of life. Nearly half of us will experience a mental health issue at some point in our lives—a lifetime risk that is about the same as the chance of developing cancer or heart disease. However, unlike heart disease and cancer that typically occur in later years, half of people with mental illness are diagnosed by age 14 and three-quarters by the age of 24 years. Poor mental health can contribute to low self-esteem, decreased productivity, school dropout, and even suicide—a leading cause of death for college students. Good mental health is clearly of great importance to college students.
Despite its importance, many of us are uncomfortable discussing our mental health. Commonly used words like “crazy”, “nuts”, and “crackpot” contribute to stigma and discrimination that are major barriers to informed discussion and help seeking. Minds Matter will raise awareness and open a dialog about mental health questions to foster understanding, compassion and perhaps reduce the stigma attached to mental health disorders:
The 2013-14 Common Experience will encourage students, faculty, staff and community members to recognize the importance of balancing human rights, freedoms, and creativity with effective social services, business practices, educational programs, and healthcare in support of good mental health. Participants will develop a better understanding of the causes of recent events said to be related to psychiatric conditions, while they increase their knowledge of the worldwide consequences of mental health and illness. As in previous years, everyone at Texas State University and beyond is invited to participate and organize events.
1. Lifetime Prevalence and Age-of-Onset Distributions of DSM-IV Disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=208678
2. Leading causes of mortality among American college students at 4-year institutions. https://apha.confex.com/apha/139am/webprogram/Paper241696.html