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OCU Recognizes Mental Illness Awareness Week
Oklahoma City University will host a video presentation called “In Our Own Voice” at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6 in recognition of Mental Illness Awareness Week. The presentation will take place in the Kerr McGee Auditorium in Meinders School of Business and consists of a screening of the award-winning documentary explaining different types of mental illnesses and the public’s perceptions of them. A question-and-answer period will follow. The event is free to the public and refreshments will be provided. Dr. Mel Preisz, professor of psychology, said the topic of mental illness has become one of the most important current concerns in the overall discussion of national health care. “Mental illness needs to be de-stigmatized, re-claimed in today’s healthcare importance on parity with medical care for physical illnesses, and supported by Congress and the president, elected officials and insurance provisions much more than ever before,” Preisz said. “One out of five individuals, according to recent research, is currently suffering from an undiagnosed and untreated mental disorder, and our students and community need to know more about how to understand these very significant health conditions and receive the good news that they are treatable.” The presentation is sponsored by the OCU Psychology Department, the university’s Psi Chi club and the Oklahoma chapter of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). It is the second year OCU has hosted a Mental Illness Awareness Week event, and the first time the university’s student-led NAMI chapter has been involved. The OCU student organization was formed less than a year ago. “We hope to increase awareness of mental health issues, and address the stigmas related to them,” said Andrea Robbins, president of the student NAMI organization. In 1990, the U.S. Congress established the first week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week in recognition of NAMI's efforts to raise mental illness awareness. Since 1990, mental health advocates across the country have joined together during the first week of October to celebrate. For information about the OCU event contact Dr. Wayne McGuire, coordinator for NAMI, at (405) 818-9401 or Dr. Melissa Hakman at OCU, advisor for Psi Chi, at (405) 208-5397.