Pass the Love


Photo by: Autumn McClain

Autumn McClain, News Editor

October is Mental Health Awareness month, inviting individuals to share their own stories of mental health and provide words of support to those struggling with mental illness. Buena Vista University students and faculty wore green on Oct. 10, in honor of World Metal Health Dayto recognize struggles with mental illness within the campus community. 

An event, allowing those who attended to make cards for patients in mental health units across the state of Iowa, was hosted by BVU Mental Health Counseling and Professional School Counseling Graduate Programs Faculty  

“Everybody is touched by mental illness. Whether it be themselves, family, or friends. It’s like any other disease. Mental illness is no different, said Kathleen Ruscitto, Assistant Professor at BVU in Mental Health Counseling.  

 Please Pass the Love is a grassroots organization developed in Iowa in 2013 that started the #PasstheLove Campaign. This group is committed to increasing school mental health supports to improve the quality of lifeand educational opportunities for children, families, and educators. The campus event featured a selfie wall intended for those dressed in green to post photos on social media using the hashtag #PasstheLove 

Students struggling with mental illness and substance abuse on campus have access to counseling services located in the office for student success.  

“There is no shame in getting help. If you go to the doctor and complain of stomach pains, they come up with a plan to solve it. You don’t have to live with stomach pain, why would you live with mind pain, said Ruscitto. “Life is beautiful, and you don’t have to suffer in silence.” 

Emily VanDonselaar, Senior Social Work and Art Therapy Major at BVU was creating a card at the event filled will encouraging words to motivate a stranger in need.  

“I think this is really important. I, myself, have struggled with mental illness. Not every day is an easy day and acknowledging that helps build hope for a better tomorrow,” said VanDonselaar 

Another student, Savannah Adkins, Psychology major at BVU, was volunteering at the event. 

As she was greeting students and initiating conversation about mental health, her smile displayed a willingness to listen to those in need.

“Mental illness is often misunderstood. We are raising awareness for this problem that many people struggle with,” said Adkins.  

As Mental Health Awareness month continues on, so does conversation about the importance of mental health at BVU. With midterm week in full swing and finals just around the corner, students are encouraged take care of themselves and reach out for help as displayed by the overwhelming support from the campus community.