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May 24, 2016 04:47 AM EDT

University of Cincinnati President Reveals Depression, Suicide and Mental Illness Struggles at Fundraiser Event

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Mental illness is often called an invisible struggle. Many people are afflicted by depression of thoughts of suicide every day without showing any physical signs or symptoms as there is a stigma surrounding it. University of Cincinnati President Santa Ono revealed his past struggles with mental illness in order to bring light to the issue. Ono was also actively involved for the free mental health counseling sessions to students at the University of Cincinnati.

Ono spoke to a crowd of 200 people this weekend at a fundraiser in Indian Hill, The Washington Times reported. He revealed that he attempted suicide twice, once at the age of 14 and second during his 20s. Ono hoped that by speaking out about his mental illness struggles, issues surrounding it will be addressed including the stigma and how depression can be curable.

"There's light at the end of the tunnel. If you have the proper counseling and support, it's really possible for you to move past that and move back into functioning life," Ono said, as noted by the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The fundraiser was hosted by a nonprofit organization called 1N5, an organization dedicated to those suffering from mental illness. They have raised more than $115,000 in donations, WFMJ.com shared.

Free Mental Health Counseling Sessions at University of Cincinnati

The Enquirer shared that it was Ono who initiated the free mental health counseling at the University of Cincinnati. It was spurred by a death of 21-year-old UC student Brogan Dulle, who took his own life. The outlet also noted that college students are prone to depression and suicide as there are more than 100,000 who have attempted to take their own life since 2012.


Right after his speech at the fundraising event, Ono took to his Twitter account with 70,000 followers to get his message about mental illness, suicide, and depression to a broader audience. Many were thankful that the UC President took the initiative of speaking out about mental illness.

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