EDITORIAL: ‘Into the Light’ is step in right direction
Walk to raise awareness for mental illness is useful for community
One of the most important aspects of one’s self should be his or her mental health. Two young women at Rutgers know this to be especially true.
Artemis and Sophia Mazzini’s father took his life April of last year. Phil Mazzini had been struggling with depression for several years before but had kept his illness mostly to himself. Although his family was slightly aware of his difficult battle with depression, they did not know of its severity. Remembering their father as a man always “there for everybody else,” Artemis and Sophia realized that they needed to send a message to the public relaying the importance of allowing others to do the same.
The two sisters teamed up with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and created the “Into the Light” walk/run. “Into the Light” is a 5-kilometer walk/run to raise awareness for mental health. Artemis and Sophia decided to hold the walk right here at Rutgers on Cook campus, and so far their efforts have been fruitful. Although the walk is not until the end of the month, the sisters have already raised over $51,000 out of their $60,000 goal. This display of support is exactly what the Mazzini sisters hoped for in creating this event.
Suicide is not something that is easy to talk about. Even Artemis and Sophia explained their discomfort with the reactions they received once people learned the details of their father’s death. But this is specifically what they hope to change as well. Along with the purpose of raising awareness around mental illness, the sisters hope to end the stigma attached to depression.
The Mazzini sisters are taking a step in the right direction in confronting the issues that exist in society surrounding mental illness. They have stressed the fact themselves that “Into the Light” is not only about depression but about all mental illnesses. Artemis herself has touched upon her struggles with anxiety. And by sharing this with those around her, she has found others who share her same battles.
Students at Rutgers are lucky — the University offers many resources for students who want to seek help regarding mental illnesses. The Rutgers Counseling, Alcohol and Other Drug Assistance, and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) provides support for those in need of mental health attention. Aside from this, organizations such as “To Write Love On Her Arms” provide an atmosphere for students to learn more about mental health and mental illnesses even if they do not personally struggle with any. This allows students who know of people battling with depression and other mental illnesses better aid and support them.
What the Mazzini sisters are doing is essential to creating a more welcoming and open environment for Rutgers students. Raising awareness is the first step to understanding something that may be an uncomfortable topic in society. By showing that mental illness is more commonplace than one would think, this walk and others like it will create a more viable space for mental illnesses to be tackled head on. Almost 1 in 5 Americans suffer from a mental illness every year. You never know what someone is going through, but you can try your best to understand. Artemis and Sophia are helping the community of Rutgers understand mental illness, and with the interest that is being shown in the “Into the Light” walk, it seems as though they are truly helping.