In a Ted Talk discussing her battles with schizophrenia as a young college student, Cecilia McGough openly shares the stigma that surrounds schizophrenia, and the impacts it can have on aspiring students and highlights the importance of founding nonprofit organizations aimed to help affected individuals.
During her candid discussion, McGough describes her first initial encounters with schizophrenia and how daunting and terrifying it had been to experience that during her first year at college. She vividly recalls and describes some of her hallucinations, visual, auditory and tactile, that she had encountered and how they interfered with her everyday life, including taking tests, attending class, and more. Despite her calling for support, many individuals close to her discouraged her from seeking mental health support as they feared it would draw negative attention, refrain McGough from finding future job opportunities, or even from keeping friends. Nonetheless, She recalled how important and critical it was for her to stand her ground and seek support, admitting herself into psychiatric wards and conducting several meetings with numerous doctors.
Looking back, McGough proudly mentions how happy and proud she is that she sought such support as it helped ease her symptoms and developed her into the individual she is today, a strong advocate for students battling schizophrenia. With that being said, she went on to establish her own nonprofit organization, Students with Schizophrenia, which aimed to help college students have access to mental health resources all the while providing them a safe and inviting environment to openly come forward with their struggles.
Upon reflecting on her journey with schizophrenia thus far, McGough emphasizes how inaccurate the representation of schizophrenia is and how it is normal to live with such mental illnesses. By removing the harsh stigma surrounding the topic, McGough believes that more affected individuals may come forth, allowing for more open discussions and higher access to mental health resources, ultimately aiding a greater number of students to remain successful throughout their years at college and beyond.
Feature Image: Hello I’m Nik, On Unsplash, Creative Commons.