UWO students start organization to fight depression stigma

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Two Western students on a mission to eliminate stigmas surrounding depression are looking to students for support.

Fifth-year political science and Ivey student Ben Gordon and fourth-year political science and philosophy student Justin Smith recently co-founded the non-profit organization BLUEprint, with the slogan “Fight the Stigma: Think BLUE.”

The organization aims to raise awareness and offer student-friendly programming to reduce stigmas associated with depression.

“We’ve both personally suffered from depression, and the more we thought about it and researched the topic, the more we realized there isn’t enough being done to reduce the stigma,” Gordon said.

“There’s still this idea that depression is a choice, an attitude or something you can will yourself out of, when in fact, it’s actually a very serious illness.

“We hope to combat this and other misconceptions surrounding this illness that will touch all people at some point in their lives. ”

The duo hopes to use the media and popular culture to attract attention, create dialogue and bring depression and people suffering from it out of isolation.

Smith and Gordon want to link their organization with companies whose products or values lend themselves well to the subject, and are looking for companies whose goals correspond well with theirs.

“We’re looking to do cause marketing by linking ourselves to companies that are interested in corporate social responsibility,” Smith said.

“We want to target students because we know they are very open to this type of marketing.”

Gordon said they’ve already received support from Western’s Student Health Services and hope to collaborate with it and other student services in the future.

“Just like people suffering with depression need a network of friends for support, we’re trying to create a network of volunteers to create change,” Smith said.

For more information or to get involved, contact Gordon at benjamin.gordon@hotmail.com or 519-642-1129.

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