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Northwest Missouri State University


News Release

Oct. 1, 2015

Students, faculty continues campaign to reduce mental health stigma with Oct. 14 gathering, concert

Northwest students and faculty are pictured on the stairs of a Brooklyn hostel. The group traveled to New York in May to participate in the National Alliance on Mental Illness Walks NYC 5k and continue their work with the #IWILLLISTEN campaign.

Northwest students and faculty are pictured on the stairs of a Brooklyn hostel. The group traveled to New York in May to participate in the National Alliance on Mental Illness Walks NYC 5k and continue their work with the #IWILLLISTEN campaign. (Submitted photo)

Members of the Northwest Missouri State University community are continuing their campaign to reduce the stigma of mental illness with a gathering and concert featuring blues, rock and soul music.

Organizers of the #IWillListen campaign will host “Dance to Your Own Music” from 6 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14, in the J.W. Jones Student Union Ballroom. The event will feature community and University speakers addressing mental health stigma from 6 to 7 p.m. Then, at 7 p.m., the Kansas City-based rock band Finnegan’s Crossing will perform its brand of classic rock for the audience to enjoy and sing along.

Tickets are available for $10 at New Beginnings Counseling Center, 318 Main St. in Maryville, or for $12 at the door. Proceeds will go toward providing mental health services not covered by insurance at New Beginnings Counseling Center, a local not-for-profit center.

The event is a continuation of the successful campaign Northwest students and faculty launched last April in coordination with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

“The community and the University came together to fight mental health stigma last April, and the support was incredible,” Edward said. “The event we are holding October 14 is for more information, fun, and a gathering of supporter to raise money to continue the effort and to fund therapy for those who cannot afford it.”

The #IWillListen campaign launched at Northwest April 20-21. Community members were invited to gather for social activities and make pledge videos for social media in addition to hearing from Maryville Mayor Renee Riedel and Barb Ricci, the board president of NAMI-NYC Metro. In the weeks leading up to the kickoff, students and faculty also sold T-shirts to promote the campaign.

In May, 17 Northwest students and faculty members participated in the NAMI Walks NYC 5k to raise awareness, battle misconceptions and celebrate individuals recovering from mental illness.

“The chance to go to New York and be a part of that movement was one of the best experiences I have ever had,” said Lucy Hilliard, a sophomore deciding major from Batavia, Ill. “It is showing that you don’t have to be afraid to get help and talking to people in order to get the help that you rightly deserve. We show that we are here to listen no matter what.”

In the days leading up to the 5k, the group volunteered at a Brooklyn soup kitchen network that provides meals to the homeless. Students served more than 200 people and helped clients package food to take with them after the meal.

Hilliard and Sean Cahill, who completed his bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology during the summer trimester, were chosen to participate in NAMI’s president for a day program in recognition of their campaign fundraising achievements. They shadowed Wendy Brennan, the executive director of NAMI-NYC Metro, and met with Chirlane McCray, the wife of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Before traveling to New York, the group participated in a three-credit academic service course that included contributing at least 25 hours to the #IWillListen campaign, a term paper and participation in the 5k. They also coordinated fundraising and planning for the trip.

Northwest raised more than $2,000 for the NAMI 5k and another $2,000 to fund the trip to New York to participate in the 2015 NAMI Walks NYC 5k and other service projects. As the first rural community to join the movement, Maryville had a higher percentage of participants than New York residents, and the efforts of the Northwest community garnered national attention on the Huffington Post.

For more information about the "I Will Listen" campaign, visit https://www.facebook.com/NWMSUIWILLISTEN.


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468