Shining a Spotlight on Mental Health: Alumni Profile - Michelle DiMuria

Michelle DiMuria
March 25, 2019

Michelle DiMuria wants to help break the stigma surrounding mental health. Nearly 64 percent of college freshman and sophomores experience anxiety and depression. Many students do not seek help for these issues.

Stigma-Free Mental Health

For nearly three years, DiMuria has worked passionately to create awareness and opportunities for college students who may be struggling with mental health concerns.

As a mental health advocate and a sexual assault survivor, DiMuria is fervent in her passion to help college communities. DiMuria attended and graduated from Phoenix College twice; while first a student at PC, she helped out with the College’s United Way Campaign. After graduating from Phoenix College in 2011 (to gain her associate degree in forensic technology), DiMuria went on to complete her bachelor’s degree at Arizona State University (ASU).

While attending ASU-West, she created a “Mental Health Awareness Week”. In October 2017, she designed and hosted a “Pave the Way” Mental Health Summit with 50 organizations and an attendance of 700 students. The summit addressed issues such as suicide, eating disorders, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Building a Non-Profit Organization

After the overwhelming success of her two events and with the assistance of her co-founders Zujaila Ornelas and Zev Goldberg, DiMuria established her own non-profit organization, the BEE Daring Foundation to educate college students on the effects of mental health issues and how to overcome them. In June 2018, The BEE Daring Foundation officially became a registered Arizona non-profit.

DiMuria intends to make the “Pave the Way Mental Health Summit” an annual event, raising money to address mental health concerns among college students by providing awareness and resources and giving out much-needed school supplies to students.

Future Goals

DiMuria has lofty goals for the BEE Daring Foundation. She wants to help train nurses and doctors on how to treat patients with mental health concerns. She aims to reduce the stigma and stereotypes of depression and anxiety among college students by 50 percent and create a certification in mental health first aid training.

To current students and alumni who may be struggling with their own mental health concerns, DiMuria wants you to know that you are not alone. 

“Take a deep breath. Know that it is not your fault. Ask for help and self-disclose to friends and family when you are ready. Talk to your college counselor and create a support system of friends, family, and coworkers.”  - DiMuria

Non-Profit Advice

DiMuria encourages other alumni to start their own non-profit enterprises if they feel passionately about a social or environmental issue. She advises budding non-profit entrepreneurs to build a network, to spend time reaching out to big non-profits and attend as many events as possible. DiMuria built her network by staying engaged with mental health advocacy organizations such as Stand Together and Recover, Mentally Ill Kids in Distress (MIKID), and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

Resources

Phoenix College Counseling Department

Chemical Dependency Treatment Resources

About Phoenix College

Phoenix College is one of the 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District, one of the largest community college districts in the nation. Phoenix College offers academic courses leading to associate degrees, university transfer, certificates and short-term job training to more than 11,000 students annually.