Breaking News
More () »

'Your feelings are valid' | Augustana College reminding students that their mental health matters

Augustana senior Kelsey Notestein's experience with anorexia caused her to feel helpless and isolated. Now, she wants to help others with their struggles.

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — Editor's note: Those who are struggling with their mental well-being are encouraged to call 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Those attending Augustana can find resources here

Augustana College senior Kelsey Notestein's experience with anorexia nervosa caused her to feel helpless and isolated during her freshman year of high school. 

This eating disorder can surface when a person isn't getting enough calories in their diet, resulting in a "significantly low body weight," according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders

"And it almost took my life," Notestein told News 8's Collin Riviello. 

The feelings that came with her diagnosis included anger and frustration. 

"I couldn't understand why people weren't having the same feelings as me, or why I was the only one feeling this," Notestein recalled. 

And asking for help isn't as simple as it may seem. 

"Well, it's really common that our students are hesitant to come in for counseling, especially if they haven't been before," said Anne Oakes, a counselor at Augustana.

Notestein said she's seen many psychologists and nurse practitioners for her struggles with the eating disorder, which impacts about 9% of the world's population

RELATED: With launch of 988, Iowa City crisis call center sees number texts increase by nearly 800%

"It's definitely not easy," Notestein said about getting help. "It's not easy going to talk to somebody, especially somebody that you don't know."

And that's why Augustana College held its second annual "You Matter" rally — to help people talk about their mental well-being. 

"And we really just want to make sure our students on campus know that they matter," Tia Steele, assistant director of Student Life, said. "That we have resources here on campus, and in the Quad Cities."

For Notestein, she's already on her path to recovery and plans to be a clinical psychologist. 

"And that's why I want to help other people," she said. "Because I want them to know like, 'Hey, you're not the only one struggling with this. Your feelings are valid, and your voice needs to be heard.'"

► Download the WQAD News 8 App 
► Subscribe to our newsletter 
Subscribe to our YouTube channel 

RELATED: Rosecrance's new Moline location holds grand opening, will offer mental health and substance abuse treatment

Watch more news, sports and weather on News 8's YouTube channel

Before You Leave, Check This Out