April 25, 2019 | 56° F

Mental health awareness organization initiates club at Rutgers

Photo by The Daily Targum |

Next to their father Philip Mazzini who died in 2016, Sophia Mazzini and Artemis Mazzini, the founders of Into the Light, started a 5K run/walk to help spread awareness for mental health. It is in the process of becoming a club at Rutgers. 

After Philip Mazzini’s death by suicide in April 2016, his daughters, Artemis, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, and Sophia, a Rutgers Business School sophomore, created Into the Light. This year, the duo is making active efforts to find the organization a spot on campus. 

Into the Light (ITL) is an organization created to help erase the stigma associated with depression and help people with mental illnesses and their families. It strives to help people who are at risk for depression feel safe and supported. 

Following the success of the first ITL 5K run/walk, Artemis and Sophia Mazzini want to take it a step further and start a club on campus to encourage more student engagement. The ITL club will host events on campus and as it continues to grow as a non-profit organization, it will host events at other universities across the nation.

“Into the Light’s first 5K run/walk, held on Cook campus, brought together more than 1,500 participants from the community and raised more than $85,000 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). The success of our run/walk inspired us to start this club to empower students to help other students,” Artemis Mazzini said.

One in four young adults between 18 and 24 have diagnosable mental illnesses but 2 out of 3 do not seek treatment, according to the Rutgers University Student Assembly (RUSA). 

“Mental illness affects the Rutgers population in various ways. Many college-aged students struggle with anxiety, depression and other illnesses on a daily basis,” Sophia Mazzini said.

She said the main goal of the ITL club is to raise mental health awareness through arranging guest speakers, organizing walks, raising money for mental health programs and, most importantly, encouraging people to seek help. 

“Into the Light members will work together to raise mental health awareness and rid the stigma across campus. Through our events, we will raise money and donate to on-campus mental health programs, as well as a national mental health foundation of our choice. ITL will organize the main run/walk, have other fundraisers at participating establishments, arrange guest speakers and coordinate panels related to mental health for the Rutgers community," Artemis Mazzini said.

Sophia Mazzini said working as a member of the ITL club is a great opportunity to make a direct impact on the Rutgers community and change how faculty, students and the community perceive mental illness. Being fully involved in the cause will drive ITL’s success. 

“There is this idea that college is the best four years of our lives. By working with our club, students will see positive results and realize that by helping others, we help ourselves. We want you to know that help is out there, and that you are not alone,” she said.

Jaehyun Kim

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