Tag Archives: mental illness

From Restraints to Recognition: Thriving with Mental Illness

PSA from Claire Wright ’16:

Join Melody Moezzi ’01 as she speaks about living with mental illness and the broader impact of stigma. She will share her experiences living with bipolar disorder from her unique perspective as an Iranian-American Muslim feminist writer, attorney and activist thriving despite (and because of) a serious mental illness. Moezzi will also speak on seeking help and cultural barriers to care, among other issues.

She will sign copies of her memoir, Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life, which will be available for purchase after the talk. Free admission.

Date: Tuesday, April 7th
Time: 7:00-8:30 PM
Place: DFC, Usdan

MINDS Faculty Panel on Stigma of Mental Illness


Great MINDS think alike… on mental illness? Ha? Take it away, Alicia Gansley ’15:

Join MINDS for a panel on the stigma of mental illness featuring Wesleyan faculty and local health professionals. The event will begin with a short introduction by each of our speakers followed by an informal Q&A moderated by MINDS founder, Raghu Appasani ’12.


  • Dr. Matthew Kurtz, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Dr. Jennifer D’Andrea, Director of Counseling and Psychological Services at Wesleyan Univeristy (CAPS)

FREE SNACKS FROM HAVELI in Middletown will be served! Bring your prefrosh!!
Funded by SALD.

Date: Thursday, April 18th, 2013
Time: 7 PM
Place: Fisk Hall 302
Cost: Free! And with free food!

Abrams ’12 Discusses “Violence and Mental Illness in Middletown” in the Atlantic

“In Middletown, the connection between those ignored by society who then come back to cause harm is difficult to overlook.”

In the days and hours after the Newtown shooting, my thoughts turned to Johanna Justin-Jinich ’10, the Wesleyan student who was senselessly gunned down in Broad Street Books in 2009. A prefrosh at the time, I wasn’t on campus. I followed the tragedy, in horror and shock, from the safety of my parents’ house, and I fielded uncomfortable questions from high school classmates who asked if I was going to “the school where that girl was killed.”

I’m not the only member of the Wesleyan community for whom Sandy Hook triggered memories of 2009. First came a blog post from Professor Claire Potter, who reflects on faculty experiences in the wake of Justin-Jinich’s murder and argues forcefully against proposals to arm teachers. Then followed a Huffington Post column from President Roth, who advocates for gun control and writes, “If we falter, if we think the politics too difficult or too complicated, we should remember Johanna.”

Violence and Mental Illness in Middletown, Connecticut” is the latest, a sprawling Atlantic piece that weaves together the shooting of Justin-Jinich, the 2012 outrage over Middletown elementary school “scream rooms,” and the horrific 1989 stabbing of a young girl on Main Street into a portrait of a small city still haunted by violence and stigmatization of the mentally ill. (David Peterson, the schizophrenic man who stabbed nine-year-old Jessica Short as her family looked on, had just escaped from Connecticut Valley Hospital, where Stephen Morgan is now held. Like Morgan, Peterson was later ruled insane.)

WesleyingSpeak: What I Said to a Relative Who Claims Guns Aren’t the Problem

A few days ago, I posted a link to a petition that urges the White House to start a debate about gun control on my Facebook because of the Sandy Hook shooting. Thankfully, it seems as though the White House is finally on the road to enacting gun control reforms, after years of infuriating inaction. To my surprise, however, the first comment under my post was a criticism of my logic, in which the author inserted a link to this Christian Post article and argued the following:

I think the problem is how mental illness is addressed in this nation, and NOT guns. The assault weapons ban expired years ago, and nothing changed; to put another ban in place without addressing other problems in our society will only make people feel good. It’s funny that bibles are allowed to be read in prisons, but not in our public schools. Too bad that a mentally sick person has to commit a serious crime before he gets off the street and into an institution where help is rendered…just saying.

The person who posted this is a member of my family, whom I get along with and love deeply. Additionally, I agree with him to a slight extent, in that I think mental illness is an important factor in mass shootings and gun regulation (but my agreements end there). Because of all this, I found it very difficult to react to his views in my typical fashion — that is, with rage and a righteous affirmation that “he’s an ignorant, Bible thumping conservative who just doesn’t get it.” While part of me still thinks this about people who claim “guns aren’t the problem,” having a close family member voice this opinion gave me pause, because I care for and respect him. Ultimately, I decided to respond to him, and I have copied my rebuttal to his comment here.

Share Your Mental Illness Stories

Have you or someone close to you struggled with mental illness? Would you like to help raise awareness about mental health issues on campus?

Active Minds at Wesleyan is seeking students, faculty and staff members who would be willing to share their mental illness stories in a short awareness video about mental illness at Wesleyan.

Contact activemindswes(at)gmail(dot)com for more information

The MINDS Foundation’s First Meeting of the Semester

The MINDS Foundation is a student-run NGO that is taking a grassroots approach to eliminating stigma and providing medical, educational, and supportive care for patients suffering from a mental illness in developing countries.

If you’re interested in joining, come attend our first meeting of the semester!

  • Date: Sunday, January 30
  • Time: 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
  • Place: Allbritton 304
  • Cost: Free!
  • For more information: Click here.

Sexing Up Mental Illness

Actor Joe Pantoliano was part of the panel discussion tonight (along with Film Professor Jacob Bricca, Psychology Professor Matthew Kurtz, and Wes alum director Ben Selkow of recently screened film A Summer in the Cage) of the Film Series movie, Canvas. The panel members discussed the importance of having more balanced portrayals of mental disorders in pop culture and the media (like Canvas, which sympathetically and realistically depicted schizophrenia’s effects on a family), and especially raising awareness on college campuses.

Pantoliano related how his own struggle with clinical depression made him realize how much societal attitudes towards mental illness need to change. To that end, he started a nonprofit organization, No Kidding, Me Too!, which aims to destigmatize mental illness in American society with a humorous approach. It’s worth checking out:

No Kidding, Me Too! is a nonprofit organization comprised of entertainment industry members united in an effort to educate Americans about the epidemic related to mental illness in all forms. Through this enlightenment we will teach those suffering from it, and their loved ones who are victims of it, to talk about it openly. The goal is to tear this stigma out of the closet and de-isolate it so that these people will be surprised to find millions of others like themselves and say, “No Kidding, Me Too!”

Our goal is to educate the public about the wonderful possibilities that exist when we break down the societal barriers which hold us all back because we treat those afflicted with mental illness differently — we label them and isolate them. What we passionately want to accomplish is to relieve the weight of millions of people who suffer this isolation.

In our roles as communicators, we have found that by infusing humor into a message — by having a “spoonful of sugar help the medicine go down” — that the message not only grows faster but is retained longer. That is our hope. To use the humor in the name No Kidding, Me Too! to lighten the message, to cause people to remember the name, so when they are ready for the message, they will get it. To pay some recognition to the statistic that one in five adults in this country suffers from a mental illness. To allow people to have a conversation that includes, “…and I’m bipolar.” “No Kidding, Me Too!”

Pantoliano’s stated goal tonight was to eventually “make mental illness as sexy as erectile dysfunction”, in light of Viagra’s ubiquity in society today as opposed to that condition’s chuckle-inducing status ten years ago. A noble cause… and hopefully one that’s at least as successful.