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Dickie releases self-published book – THE GANON KNIGHT

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‘Hopeful Madness’ chronicles mental health

September, or Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month, is an important month for recent Gannon graduate Katie Dickie.

Dickie graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in social work and is now working to create a safe space for Ellie by speaking openly about her story and struggles. To do this, she has compiled eight years worth of poems, essays and articles chronicling her mental health journey in a self-published book titled Hopeful Madness.

Dickey says the goal of the piece is to “speak the unspoken and give others a voice” so that those who feel unsafe or lack the courage to feel alone He said it was to make him feel at ease knowing that he was not.

“Hopeful Madness” sheds light on the complexities of mental health: both the highs and the lows. Writing essays, poems and articles about her experiences as she faced them in real time was a treat for Dickie to document her journey.

Not only did Dickey write and create art safe ways to express what he was feeling, but exposing these raw emotional works was liberating. Countless episodes of depression , treatments, hospital visits, and various treatments, Dickey’s art was a constant oasis.

But Dickie didn’t publish the book just to find his own peace.

“It was to let the students know that no one else told them the same story or saw exactly the same suffering and joy as they did,” Dickie said. “No one walking AJ’s path has lived the same life as anyone passing by, but there are many in our community who have gone through incredibly difficult and frightening things. Together we can choose to normalize it.”

Dickie aims to build a community of people who can share their experiences and learn that they are not alone in their struggle. It’s a “safe place” for her.

Connecting Ganon with the world through the lived experience of suicide prevention can be a struggle at times. Dickie said many believe change is a linear process.

“We formulate a mission statement, rally the military, plan the event, create the scene, do the marketing and photography,” says Dickey.

Dickie says that while this is a good way to create change, it is not always sustainable. Dickie’s sustainable change is grounded in storytelling. She advocates for creating safe and welcoming spaces on campus and within Ellie’s community for students to just be. In other words, a place where students can share their stories without feeling pressured or at risk to change what they are going through. how do they feel about it?

Active Minds represents this more sustainable way of change with Outspoken, an event where students can tell their stories either anonymously or by speaking for themselves. Dickey spearheaded the event and so far he has had three installments.

Dickey said Outspoken started anonymously, but as time went on, it became more important for students to tell their stories.

Students used their favorite artistic medium to tell their stories in a way they saw fit. As Dickie said, it’s not how mental health works, so there’s no sugar coating or creating happy endings.

“Why do you make happy endings when there are no happy endings?” said Dicky.

By creating a platform for students to tell their stories, let them know that they’re not alone in their struggles and that their stories may sound like someone else’s .

“With Timely Care, Ganon takes a very clinical approach to student well-being and refers students to counseling,” Dickey said. “But we need to keep that momentum going, and add another branch that’s looking at how we meet the need for solitude.”

Dickey said some students struggle with mental health issues and need to take precautions. It could mean creating a space where you can have a space to feel your feelings.

Katie emphasized the importance of creating more trustworthy and safe spaces for people of all walks of life, not only on the Ganon campus, but also in the wider Erie community. Dickey said the lack of mental health services in Erie is a factor in many people’s mental health. She said mental health is just as important as physical health.

This is one of the main reasons why Dicky has her job. She uses her own story to show that her mental health is not linear.

“Even when our journey is still on, and when we’re feeling more bitter than bitter, we still have powerful insights and messages to share,” said Dickie.

Molly Begeman

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