ECU senior starts mental health support group for fellow students

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – One ECU student is looking to go above and beyond her classwork by helping fellow Pirates deal with mental health issues.

Senior Miana Bryant founded Mental Elephant in 2016. The idea was to help students who were battling conditions like depression, PTSD and even stress. For her, the mission was personal.

“My grandmother has battled with mental illnesses, and I personally have battled with mental illnesses, so this is something that I took from my heart and just opened up to other students,” Bryant said.

Since starting on the campus of East Carolina University, the group has grown quickly. Bryant estimates they have already helped more than 200 students battling with mental health disorders.

The goal is to promote communication, while also connecting students with available resources. Nadia Forh said the group has taught her how to help others.

“What people go through continuously. What they think about. Also how to go about dealing with people, talking to them,” Forh said.

Many mental health providers would tell you communication and discussing the issue is critically important.

Bryant said her focus with the group remains on low-income families who sometimes have more severe, and earlier, battles with mental illness.

“Being in a low-income household and kind of dealing with poverty, and being forced to grow up at a young age, it’s really hard, especially on a lot of kids,” she said.

Following her graduation in May 2018, Bryant wants to move ahead with Mental Elephant, making it a non-profit and expanding it on college campuses around the country.

To learn more about the group, click here.

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