Although one in four people are diagnosed with mental illness, McPherson College sophomore, Kayla Onstott, said everyone possesses the ability to be mentally healthy.

Raising awareness of mental illness and the need to foster mental and emotional wellness has been a driving factor in Onstott’s college career.

Onstott was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and post-traumatic-stress.

Creating the club Active Minds of McPherson College has helped her and other students raise these issues on McPherson College’s Campus.

“We just started this semester. We’ve been hosting meetings since the beginning of March and we meet every week on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. and we discuss different mental health topics — these things need to be talked about,” Onstott said.

Onstott has been heavily involved with the mental health services the college offers and hopes to give back to the students through this club.

“I’m in an entrepreneurship class and as a part of that, we had to pick a project and it was supposed to be hypothetical, but we were encouraged to make it real and so I decided to act on it by creating this club,” she said.

As April is Mental Health Awareness Month, the club is hosting a D-Stress event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. next Tuesday, on the McPherson College Campus for students to come and unwind and to clear their minds.

“We’re going to have various things like bubble wrap, bubbles and punching balloons, things like that,” she laughed.

While the club’s first big event isn’t until August 26, Onstott and club members are working hard to get the word out.

“We will have a fundraiser for mental health awareness called Strikeout Stigma.

It’s a bowling and silent auction event and we’re raising funds to send a faculty member to be trained as an instructor in mental health first aid. This way he can train residential directors and assistants in the program so they can have a standardized curriculum for mental health crisis and intervention and substance abuse,” she said.

The event will be from 1 to 3 p.m. at Startlite Lanes, located at 900 W. Kansas Ave. in McPherson.