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This NAMI Linn County supporter is Essa, a 21 year old member of the Latinx community and 2020 Coe College graduate. Here is their story…

“To my fellow college students: I am going to tell you some things I wish I knew sooner. It is okay, your emotions are valid, and you are
not alone. College is hard. I feel like that is something most can agree on. Going through college while dealing with mental illness?…well, it can feel impossible and isolating.  8 am classes are difficult enough without struggling to even get out of bed. One morning you promise yourself coffee if you can just get out of bed, tomorrow you bribe yourself with skipping tonight’s workouts, and each morning it’s a similar situation.

Mental illness is something a lot of individuals experience yet few will talk about. Even in an academic setting, the stigma around the topic is felt. Whether it is an off-handed comment about depression being a guise for attention or the lack of general education on the topic, mental illness seems like a taboo topic…something not to be openly discussed.

I hope this is something you never have been or will be shamed into believing. Talk with others about what you’re feeling, reach out to those around you (no one knows the signs better than someone struggling, too), and be an ally for yourself and others. Learn about the resources available to you, reach out to friends and family, and communicate with professors on bad days.”

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