Audio: ‘I never faced those feelings’

Two college students discuss their personal experiences with mental health.  

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By Haleigh Francis/Matters of the Mind

No two mental health experiences are the same. The feelings behind them translate universally, but manifestations of illness do not. Approximately 61.5 million Americans– 1 in 4 adults– experience mental illness in a given year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Three-quarters of mental health illnesses appear by age 24, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH). But that doesn’t mean all problems are identified immediately– or treated immediately.

The people interviewed were fully aware that their stories would be shared with the public, and agreed to do so to help educate others on mental health.

Ashli Haggard

Ashli Haggard is a senior at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is part of the organization Active Minds, which raises awareness and understanding about mental health on college campuses. Ashli says she has struggled with mental health throughout her life. She sought help during her senior year of high school after two friends died. She has been hospitalized as a result of her mental health struggles, she says. Haggard currently receives therapy and sees a psychiatrist, who prescribes her medication.

Ben Pitler

Ben Pitler is a sophomore at American University. He says he was tested for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) during his sophomore year of high school after he realized his grades were consistently low. Ben says he was prescribed Adderall, a stimulant, to help him focus. He says that his grades almost immediately improved. He has maintained taking the medication in college, and he believes his ADD would be much more difficult without it. However, Ben says he does eventually want to stop taking the medication.


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