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FGCU student creates new registered student organization

(Left) Lacey Scotti, the vice president of Breathe, a new RSO on campus, tables in the Cohen Center atrium alongside club president Kayla Reiter (right). Reiter, who is running for SG senate with the College of Arts and Sciences with the FGCU Fusion Party, launched Breathe with the goal of spreading awareness for mental health issues. (Photo courtesy of Kayla Reiter)

Breathe is a new organization on campus that’s dedicated to promoting a healthy body image and advocating for the awareness of mental illnesses.

Run by President Kayla Reiter and Vice President Lacey Scotti, this organization will spread awareness for issues like mental health, eating disorders and suicide prevention.

Reiter, who is running for SG senate with the College of Arts and Sciences in the 2017 SG elections with the FGCU Fusion Party, said that she would like to make students aware that there are students on campus struggling with mental illness.

“Everyone knows someone who is struggling or has struggled with mental illness,” Reiter said.

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Reiter wants to stop the stigma that surrounds mental illness. Scotti, while not having a personal experience with eating disorders, wants to ensure that students have a safe space to reach out to on campus. Scotti said that Reiter wanted to start this organization because she has suffered from personal issues, such as anxiety and an eating disorder.

“I have my own health conditions — and being best friends, we are always there for each other,” Scotti said. “So, with this club, we hope to show other students suffering from mental illnesses or other problems that they have a support group at this university.”

Reiter started this organization because she knows what it is like to be in a dark place. She said that every 23 minutes, a person dies from anorexia.

Through Breathe, the duo hopes to help students feel safe at our university. Reiter said that while in treatment, there is little to no story of hope and reaching recovery. She wants to change that belief by giving back to those who are struggling with any mental illness.

Breathe currently does not have a set meeting time or place. On Feb. 23, Breathe held its first informational meeting and has plans to hold another one soon.

The members hope to be able to hold events that will create awareness once they secure a larger following. One goal is to hold a walk at the end of the semester to show solidarity for their cause. They also would like to bring in speakers who can share their own personal story of hope and recovery.

Breathe is also open to all students. As stated in their by-laws, “This club does not restrict against any student. Breathe, seeks to support students who have, or are currently struggling with mental illnesses, as well as those who want to support friends, family, and community members who live with a mental illness. This organization seeks to be a safe free zone and students who cannot comply will be asked to dissociate with the organization.”

Students that are interested in joining Breathe, or have questions, can contact Reiter through Eagle Link.

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