In an effort to raise awareness in the MIT community about depression and foster improved mental health services, four organizations are sponsoring the first-ever Mental Health Awareness Week at MIT this week (Oct. 22-26).
"Depression is an illness that has a broad impact on MIT's living and learning community. It disrupts the lives of all students, whether they experience depression themselves or watch a friend struggle with it. Although it is an all too common problem, it is extremely difficult to address depression," wrote coordinators Dara Jeffries, a senior in chemical engineering, and Rose Radin, a senior in economics, in an e-mail sent to faculty members. The Panhellenic Association, the InterFraternity Council, Weekends@MIT and Kappa Alpha Theta organized the week's series of events.
Each event during the week focuses on a different aspect of mental health awareness: providing information, facilitating communication and sharing emotion. To give the issue of depression serious and balanced treatment, organizers have invited experts in mental health to speak, and have researched the history of suicide at MIT to create a memorial installation in Lobby 10 all week, when there will also be ribbons, information and a mental health petition in the same location.
Other events include:
Oct. 23--Presentation on anti-depressant therapies by Dr. Anthony Van Niel of MIT Medical, 7 to 8 p.m., Twenty Chimneys (Student Center).
Oct. 24--"Students Speak Out," noon to 2 p.m., Student Center steps.
Oct. 25--Keynote address by Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison of Johns Hopkins Medical School, 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Room 4-370, followed by a reception in Lobby 10.
Oct. 26--Mental health forum presented by the MIT Task Force on Mental Health, Lobby 10.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 24, 2001.