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Health / Wellness

Friends 4 Friends Fest aims to erase the stigma of mental illness

Part 5K run, part wellness festival, the April 15 event honors former UD student and Mill intern Connor Mullen.

Supportive friends can play an important role in mental wellness. (Video screenshot)

When Connor Mullen, a junior at University of Delaware and former intern at The Mill, took his own life in September 2016, his best friends and mentors were shocked by how unaware they’d been of his struggle with depression.

In his honor, his friends created Friends 4 Friends, a mental health awareness organization that works to remove the stigma of mental illness on campus while advocating for better on-campus resources. That includes simplified online scheduling for counseling, raising the maximum of on-campus counseling sessions per student and building a new counseling center that allows more privacy.

The organization also works to create a campus atmosphere where students feel supported and discussions about how students feel are normalized — even if they don’t feel OK.

So far, Friends 4 Friends has raised over $35,000 on CharitySuite, and plans to hold the first Friends 4 Friends Fest on April 15, featuring a 5K fundraising walk, followed by an event on The Green featuring suicide prevention advocate Dennis Gillan, live music, poetry, food and a wellness fair.

As part of Friends 4 Friends Fest, cofounder Brett Long shared a short film they made in partnership with Reel Productions Film Society:

Friends 4 Friends Fest on The Green is free and open to the public.

To participate in the 5K, you’ll need to raise a a minimum of $100 ($25 if you’re a current UD student). To register as an individual or to join a team, click here.

Companies: The Mill / University of Delaware

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