Commentary: Continuing the fight against mental illness
Junior Chris Biehn writes that he has struggled with mental health issues, and he hopes to spark conversation with his creative projects.

I’m taking my fourth medical leave of absence from Ithaca College.

I’m depressed… again.

At times I can barely function.

However, I want to channel this challenge for good to be a vessel of love and hope.

The purpose for my pain is to help others who suffer in similar ways, and so I’ll do everything in my power to do just that.

Hope is like the sunshine. Even on a torrentially rainy day, you know the sun is still present despite not being visible. Sometimes hope is masked by clouds, but know there are always reasons to remember it’s still there. There are many circumstances where hope is hidden from us, and that’s why we need loved ones to remind us of the plentiful aspects of hope that should keep us determined to go on. As a society, we don’t engage in active conversation about this topic. All too often, such as in the recent suicide of Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington, the discussion only starts after an irreversible tragedy takes place and it is too late to help the person that was afflicted with a mental illness. We need to address mental illness for what it is; an illness that is prevalent across all races, societies and cultures.

This is Mental Illness Awareness Week, and I couldn’t think of a more appropriate time to start a conversation.

My battle with bipolar disorder has been a critical experience for me to focus on hope….