Grace Wheeler’s Reducing the Stigma Behind Mental Illness

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Rising junior Grace Wheeler doesn’t believe in silence. She’s not afraid to share her voice with anyone who will listen.
“I think it’s our responsibility as individuals to speak up and do something,” she said. “It’s our right. We need to speak up to make a safe environment for people to be in. It’s our responsibility to speak up because nothing is going to change if we don’t.”
Grace is practicing what she preaches as she advocates for mental health awareness personally and across campus. The psychology major was inspired to pursue her field as she watched her sister, a social worker, contribute to the lives of others. Other factors came into play as well as she considered her career path.
“I took psychology classes in high school, and along with my own experiences with mental illness, it made me want to pursue psychology,” Grace said. “I like to make an impact and be there for other people who are going through the same things I’ve been through.”
After graduation, Grace plans to pursue a master’s degree in psychology or social work. She hopes to one day work in a psychiatric ward or own her own practice. In the meantime, she’s proud of how Olivet has moved forward in its treatment of mental health issues.
“We’ve made so much progress with mental health awareness at Olivet,” Grace said. “The Out of the Darkness Walk and other events show that the campus is here for you and it’s okay to admit you have a mental illness. There is such a stigma in our world, but it’s really okay to have a mental illness. I think that mindset has changed a lot since I’ve been here.”
As a member of the psychology club and Psi Chi, the honors society for psychology students, Grace continues to speak out as an advocate for mental health awareness.
“I’ve found my voice at Olivet, and now I can help other people find their voice,” Grace said. “You’re going to find your people, and I have personally helped other people find their voice, too.”
To learn more about The University of Olivet and its mental health resources, contact the Office of Admissions at 800-456-7189 or admissions@uolivet.edu.


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