PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- With students heading back to school, there's renewed concern about mounting mental health issues. Depression and anxiety are at an all-time high for millions of students.
There will be a special event Thursday at the University of Pennsylvania aimed at raising awareness.
"This year is actually my first cross country season where I'm 100% healthy," junior Maeve Stiles said.
Stiles is training for Penn's running team after taking a mental health break.
"I have anxiety and luckily, I'm on medication for it now, but it was definitely something hard that I had to grapple with," Stiles said.
The 20-year-old junior has a full load of classes, big training commitments with the running team and joined a sorority.
"I was just trying to do everything and put 100% into every single part of my life that I kind of was becoming very out of touch with myself," Stiles said.
Research shows there is an epidemic of depression, anxiety and suicide on college campuses.
Melissa Rise is with Cogwell, a student-run mental health awareness organization. The organization is hosting a special event on Thursday called Send Silence Packing.
It's being held on the college green at the University of Pennsylvania.
Hundreds of backpacks will be on display with emotional messages. Among the donors, there is one in remembrance of Kyle Ambrogi.
A star Penn football player who died by suicide in 2005.
"Two days before he died he had two touchdowns," his mother Donna Ambroji said.
A big part of the wellness event is destigmatizing mental health struggles.
"The event is really to show how Penn is uniting through the academics, through the Greek life, through the student groups, in order to let the students know that we're here for them. That mental health is real. It's OK to talk about," Melissa said.
Maeve says that's what saved her, learning to communicate and becoming empowered.
"I love now how we're being so upfront about it's OK to not be OK, everyone is not perfect and it's OK to talk about not being perfect," Maeve said.
Maeve says she's seen a big transition on campus with more students now willing to talk about their feelings.
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