by Mackenzie Ulam, volunteer and president of NAMI On Campus
NAMI On Campus saved me my freshman year. Upon arriving at the University of Texas at Austin, I began having panic attacks for the first time and was soon diagnosed with 3 different anxiety disorders. I had known there was something up with my mental health for a long time but had never had the proper education or awareness to seek out help prior to entering college.
I went to my first NAMI On Campus meeting and listened to other members share stories similar to mine, and I remember feeling a weight lifted off of my shoulders. I was no longer alone. I had other people who understood. Being in that kind of environment inspired me to get help and I started therapy shortly after.
In 2018, I received training from NAMI Central Texas and I have facilitated peer support groups ever since. Being a part of NAMI is incredibly empowering and inspirational. The most rewarding feeling is hearing that coming to a group made someone's day better. It's incredible to be able to see the look of relief on someone's face when they hear other people talking about experiences that they didn't think they could share with anyone else. I love being a part of a community where everyone shares how they're really feeling!
Mackenzie will graduate with a Bachelor’s in Psychology in May 2021!