Sept. 25, 2019— Northern Kentucky University’s Disability Awareness Month spotlights mental wellbeing in conjunction with the university’s first Mental Health Week. The featured speaker of the week is Sue Klebold, who will share her “Reaching for Hope: Missing the Signs of a Columbine Shooter” story with the campus and community.
NKU’s Disability Programs and Services (DPS) collaborated with the College of Health and Human Services and the university’s Health, Counseling and Student Wellness office to bring Klebold’s message to campus.
Klebold wrote a memoir about her life with her son leading up to the Columbine tragedy, in the hope that others don’t miss the signs of someone in distress. She also walks through her mental health journey processing grief and guilt over her son’s suicide and actions.
The top disability registered with the DPS office is mental health, overtaking ADHD and learning disabilities in recent years. DPS Director Cindy Knox says students who register with mental health challenges, like anxiety, depression or OCD, often feel stigmatized asking for help. She wanted to bring the issue to the forefront with a powerful message, so students get more comfortable talking about it and asking for support.
“The thing that stands out to me is that Sue Klebold’s message is about brain health, rather than mental health. There is still the stigma around the term mental health, and the way she talks about keeping your brain healthy helps lessen that,” said Knox. “I also hope her message will resonates with people. We all play a role in supporting each other and understanding how to ask if someone is okay or needs help.”
Klebold’s presentation is free and open to the public, so there are no barriers to hearing her important message. Other Mental Health week events focus on creating healthy relationships, suicide prevention tips and building empathy to support friends. The topics cover a broad base of issues and are designed to educate students on how to offer help.
“Our hope for Mental Health Week is to raise awareness and remove the stigma associated with the struggles many of us face,” said Amy Clark, director of Counseling. “We also want students to see NKU united around this issue and know the organizations and services on campus that are there to support them.”
Mental Health Awareness events engage NKU’s Health, Counseling and Student Wellness, LGBTQ Programs and Services, Disability Programs and Services and Norse Violence Prevention Center. Reservations are required for some of the sessions. For more information, visit the website: https://nku.edu/mentalhealthweek
About NKU: Founded in 1968, we are a growing metropolitan university of more than 14,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus near Cincinnati. Located in the quiet suburb of Highland Heights, Kentucky—just seven miles southeast of Cincinnati—we have become a leader in Greater Cincinnati and Kentucky by providing a private school education for a fraction of the cost. While we are one of the fastest growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information, visit nku.edu.