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Mental Health Week 2022

Updated: Oct 20, 2022

By Samantha England

As we look forward to the Marathon, now less than two weeks away, life might be getting pretty hectic. It’s the season of midterms, fall break, fundraising, and final preparations for our biggest event of the year. But last week, IUDM was focused on taking a second to breathe; finding ways to manage stress, and caring for your own mental health above all else.

Monday, October 10th marked the beginning of IUDM’s second annual Mental Health Week! Our kickoff event took place in Alumni Hall on Monday evening, featuring distinguished guests Dr. Aaron Carroll, Chief Health Officer at IU, and Kalen Jackson, Vice-Chair and Owner of the Indianapolis Colts. IUDM is partnering with the Colts through their ‘Kicking The Stigma’ initiative, a program that provides mental wellness resources and offers grants to Indiana-based companies in order to “‘Kick the Stigma’ around mental health and encourage anyone battling these illnesses to seek the help they need."

At the event, we first heard from Dr. Aaron about the Student Mental Health Initiative that was put into place earlier this year at IU. Three task forces were developed, focusing on ​​the following areas: Culture and Climate, Services and Support, and Policies and Protocols. These three groups have been working to achieve a real improvement in the well-being of IU students, decreasing the stigma surrounding mental health and offering more clear and cohesive resources to those who need them.

Next, Kalen Jackson talked to us about Kicking The Stigma, and how her experiences led her to start an organization that, similarly, works to decrease the negative stigma around mental health and provide funding and resources for anyone looking to do the same. Both speakers emphasized the importance of community and lifting each other up as we navigate the difficulties of changing the narrative surrounding mental health. They encouraged us to believe that, while difficult, it is possible, and support networks are always behind us.

Riley Hospital for Children has also been at the forefront of the constantly progressing mental health care available to Hoosiers. In fact, Riley is one of few children’s hospitals that includes Child Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences within their Pediatric Care Center. We learned from pediatric psychologist Dr. Mary Milder that this department offers a wide variety of treatment plans, both specifically for mental health disorders, and for mental health concerns that arise in other patients at Riley. A team of clinical care providers like Dr. Mary and researchers with the IU School of Medicine works tirelessly to make sure that the children and families at Riley are cared for not only in a physical sense but mentally and emotionally, too. However, Riley’s impact spans even further than direct health services and research.

Recently, the Riley Children’s Foundation distributed a $10,000 grant to organizations that support children's mental health right here in the Bloomington area, in accordance with their mission “to secure the health and well-being of children everywhere.” Donations were given to Susie’s Place Child Advocacy Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Indiana, and Catholic Charities Bloomington, all of which focus on the mental and physical safety of kids and their families.

Mental Health Week is a great opportunity to learn more about these fearless leaders that have been working to advocate for mental health initiatives and put invaluable programs into place that benefit children, students, adults, and society as a whole. But it is also a time to stop and check in with yourself, and take care of your mind just like you would any other part of your body. If you or someone you know is struggling, please consider visiting the following website to find more information on the resources available to IU Students. You are not alone. Tomorrow Needs You.

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