ADA – Jaime Campbell is a young woman who has schizophrenia and a traveling exhibit at East Central University is shedding light on that condition and other mental illness issues.
The exhibition “Nothing to Hide: Mental Illness in the Family” – a touring photo and text display created by the award-winning, non-profit organization Family Diversity Projects, Inc. of Amherst, Massachusetts – will be at ECU through February 28.
“When I first got sick, almost all of my friends gave up on me,” Campbell said. “One friend even called me a ‘schizoid.’ I had been there for them when they needed me, but when I needed them, they were gone. For me, losing my friends is the saddest example of the stigma of mental illness.”
The exhibit, made possible by the ECU Brandon Whitten Institute and ECU Campus Suicide Prevention Program, takes place in the Bill S. Cole University Center and is open to the public.
“Nothing to Hide” provides people coping with mental illnesses, and their families, the opportunity to come out of the shadows and into the public eye. The compelling stories of children, siblings, parents, grandparents and extended family members demonstrate strength, courage, integrity and accomplishment in the face of adversity and stigma.
“Living with mental illness is a struggle and a real test of your faith, but getting through it proves that the human spirit can survive,” said Mike Campbell, Jaime’s father.
Created by Family Diversity Projects, this powerful and moving exhibit travels nationwide to mental health centers, hospitals, high schools, colleges and universities, corporations, libraries and faith houses in an effort to help dispel harmful stereotypes, myths and misconceptions about mental illness.
“Nothing to Hide” consists of photographs by Gigi Kaeser and text from interviews conducted by Jean Beard and Peggy Gillespie with individuals and their families whose lives have been affected by schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, major depression and other serious brain disorders.
The ECU Campus Suicide Prevention Program facilitates a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention. This program aims to decrease stigma around mental health and help-seeking and increase promotion of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK).
A related event is the screening of “Lift the Mask: Portraits of Life with Mental Illness” at 4 p.m. Wednesday, February 26, at the Raymond Estep Multimedia Center inside the University Center. The documentary is presented by the Quell Foundation and will be followed with a panel discussion and reception. Register for the event at liftthemaskecu.eventbrite.com. If special accommodations are needed, contact Victoria Yates at 580-559-5803 or email@example.com at least a week in advance.
For more information or media inquiries, please contact BWI and ECU Campus Suicide Prevention Program Director Holli Witherington via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 580-559-5815.