Nursing student creates support group that will meet weekly for those living who mental health issues.
A mental health support group, will meet every Thursday at 8pm in the Women’s Center. The group was created and is lead by PLU junior Brent Tyhius. The nursing student became inspired to start the support group after hearing the suggestion from his teacher at the start of his nursing class.
“I have two more years here at PLU,” Tyhius said. “I want to find something that I could work on that I would feel very proud of and that I think is going to make a difference on campus.”
Tyhius, who plans to make mental health his career, is certainly no stranger to mental health problems. During his first few years on campus, he struggled from major depression while trying to understand who he was as a person.
Though he was able to find friends who were willing to support him, he wishes that he had a place where he could have been helped in the same way that he’s hoping to help others.
“I want support for the people who are struggling with mental illness just because I relate with them,” Tyhius says. “And I know how hard it is.”
The main purpose of the group, Tyhius hopes, is to offer peer support. He hopes that it will bring people out of the feeling that no one understands what they are going through and that they’re alone.
It will also give them a safe outlet to talk about their mental illness in an environment without stigma and judgement. Those who are suffering will also be able to gain advice from their peers on how they have dealt with similar problems in the past. In this way, the support group can become a step in the right direction for those who have trouble opening up with others about their problems.
“The support group is like, everyone has gone through this and you’re not alone,” Tyhius said. “That’s the huge focus is to know that there is many people on campus who feel the same way or similar to you.”
Along with providing people with the support they need, Tyhius hopes that this will open up a conversation and break stigma about mental illness on campus. He believes when a person tries to open up to someone about mental illness. Their initial reaction of the person listening is based on the worst case scenario media has provided for them.
He believes that because of how media portrays mental illness, people usually react in a negative way when others try to open up to them about their mental health.
In this way, the initial reaction is the fear that these people are going to do or say something scary. Hopefully bringing this onto campus will allow people to understand more about the true nature of mental illness.
“The range that people with mental illness have and how it’s affecting them is huge,” Brent says. “And so you need to be aware that the things you say can be harmful and know that people need support in different ways.”
Any students who would like more information, who are or who know someone who would benefit from this support group contact the women’s center at firstname.lastname@example.org.