Mental heath issues can affect everyone. When Emily Torchiana ’17 came to the College of Charleston, she had just left outpatient psychiatric treatment.
She didn’t tell her new friends about her depression, social anxiety, and suicide attempts caused by cyberbullying in high school — until she decided she wanted to make her story as public as possible. At the end of her first semester, she spoke to middle school students at Charleston Day School about the effects of cyberbullying, and by her senior year, she founded the mental health non-profit organization The Invisible Illnesses.
The organization began as a website where CofC students could share their stories of the outcomes of mental health issues and suicide attempts. After seeing how many people were encouraged to tell their experiences, Torchiana decided to expand the scope of The Invisible Illnesses. Today, the organization hosts mental health workshops in schools and universities. This past year The Invisible Illnesses educated over 5,000 students.
“It would not have been possible without the skills I learned in my classes [at the College of Charleston] and support from my professors and classmates,” says Torchiana.
On Thursday, May 3, 2018, The Invisible Illnesses will host its first benefit, from 6 to 9 p.m., at the Woolfe Street Playhouse in downtown Charleston. Torchiana hopes to spread the word about her organization and garner the support of the Charleston community. There will be a live band, food, cash bar, silent auction, raffles, and more. Tickets are open to the public at $30 online and $35 at the door. Funds raised from the event will go toward workshops hosted by the organization in middle and high schools as well as universities.