Iowa State’s National Alliance on Mental Health kicks off second semester

Iowa States NAMI held its first gathering for the second semester at the Memorial Union bowling alley. 

Iowa State’s NAMI held its first gathering for the second semester at the Memorial Union bowling alley. 

Nicole Hasek

Iowa State’s National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) addresses mental health issues among college students and provides them with resources. Last night they stepped away from their typical meetings for a night of bowling at CyBowl & Billiards.

Usual NAMI meetings, held at 7 p.m. Tuesdays in 2441 Lagomarcino Hall, consist of guest speakers or activities that focus on a certain mental health topic, with new topics addressed every week. This allows members to become aware of mental health disorders and struggles. Social events, such as bowling, are held every other week.

“It’s good to have a community outside of regular friends and to support breaking the stigma on mental health and just having the mental health community,” said Bailey Dunkin, NAMI president and a junior majoring in biology.

Oftentimes mental health is seen as abnormal or problematic, and this is the stigma that NAMI is working to steer people away from. This helps normalize mental illness, so people are more open to finding resources and support.

Access to an on-campus bowling alley allowed NAMI to easily come together for a casual night of fun and socializing where members could get a break from the stress of school and routines. Having no agenda for the night allowed members to simply enjoy the event however they wanted as a community.

According to the NAMI ISU Instagram page, one in five people, about 51.5 million, have a mental illness. This social media is used to let people know they are not alone, provide information and invite viewers to attend meetings.

NAMI Treasurer Brianna Newton, a junior majoring in finance, said the organization feels like a place for members to comfortably come together without judgment and has felt this acceptance herself.

“We definitely represent this organization as a safe place for people,” Newton said.

While NAMI is a safe place for people struggling with or interested in mental health, it is a resource group and not a support group. Support groups can be joined through NAMI of Central Iowa here.

Some big events are being planned this year, including the Green Bandana Project, taking place at the end of April or early May. Another event this year is NAMI Walks, which will be held Sept. 7.