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Education
Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

Discussions in Springfield Aimed to End Stigma of Mental Illness

Field of Memories
Submitted Photo
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This weekend marks the first of four scheduled conversations about mental illness on the Missouri State University campus and in the community.

The free events are called "Project Semicolon: Start the Conversation, End the Stigma.” It’s a joint effort of Project Semicolon, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and MSU’s Center for Community Engagement.

According to a news release from the school, the meetings will focus on providing hope to people who have mental illnesses and their loved ones, and remembering college students and veterans who have committed suicide.

The first discussion begins at 7 pm Saturday at MSU’s Plaster Student Union Theater. “In Our Own Voice” features Stephanie Appleby from NAMI Southwest Missouri who will share her story of overcoming agoraphobia after years of being homebound. Counseling sessions will also be available.

On Monday, the Field of Memories exhibit will be on display outside the north entrance of the PSU from 8 am – 5 pm. The numbered flags represent suicides among thousands of college students and veterans each year. At noon Monday, buglers will recognize fallen heroes with a live rendition of taps.

On Sept. 17, NAMI Southwest Missouri will organize “Illuminating the Darkness – Neon Night Run” at 7:30 p.m. at McBride Elementary School.

Then from Sept 19-23, visitors to the event table in the PSU can take the pledge of ending the stigma of mental illness. This opportunity to talk about the issue and take a photo supporting the cause for social media will be available between 9 am – 3 pm those days.