2018 Courage Award recipient inspires others with her battle against mental illness


Nina Schubert stands with her courage award given to her by John Kasich. 

Meghann Morrow

Just over a year after recovering from an overdose attempt, freshman early childhood education major Nina Schubert is setting an example for those who struggle with mental illness around the country every day.

After receiving the Courage Award from Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Schubert is taken aback by how much support and praise she’s received since that day.

“I was always nervous about sharing my story, and to see that it has helped inspire others and motivate others makes it worth it,” Schubert said. “So many incredible things have been happening since the award, and it’s just been such an incredible journey.”

When presented with her award, Kasich spoke highly of Schubert.

“She’s an inspiring example of leadership at a young age on such a difficult issue,” Kasich said. “You know what? We love you, Nina, for the fact that you’re stepping up and stepping out and helping people to get their lives back.”

The Nightingale Project, a student-based organization, shares and raises awareness on mental illness to help those who are struggling. The organization has been up and running as an official student organization since October 2017, helping adolescents in psychiatric hospitals.

“Recovery isn’t linear, and I have had my fair share of ups and downs, but recovery has been so worth it,” Schubert said. “To be able to share my journey and knowledge and make a difference, even if that has been for just one person.”

The organization acts as a safe haven in which people can reach out and also work together to end the stigma surrounding mental illness. Members of the organization raise money and create different projects to help those struggling with their mental health.

Schubert held an event Thursday night where people made tie blankets for patients at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital.

Schubert said this was their first round of blankets and have yet to be donated, but her long-term goal is to bring some joy and love to people’s lives.

“This was the first psychiatric unit I was admitted to after an overdose attempt,” Schubert said. “I was still very new to recovery and was extremely scared. The incredible team there was so kind and supportive, but also made sure I was working on my recovery and bettering myself. I left the hospital after a little over a week and felt so great, and I just want to be able to give back to them and help other patients there.”

Schubert hopes to continue her success with the Nightingale Project. She said the organization is very near and dear to her heart, and she hopes that it will reach as many people as possible.

“I hope that there isn’t a day where mental illness is shamed or that it isn’t taboo to talk about,” Schubert said. “I hope that the Nightingale Project is able to expand and hopefully one day be able to raise money and help people who can’t afford treatment. I hope to continue creating blankets for adolescents in hospitals all over the United States.”

Schubert also runs her own mental health Instagram account as a way to inspire and tell her story through a series of pictures.

“I had fully started recovery a little over a year ago, and at the time, I started a recovery Instagram, @nourishing.nina, and used Instagram as my platform to share my journey,” Schubert said. “I am still very active on my recovery Instagram and have met so many amazing people because of it.”

Schubert said she wanted to help people the way others on Instagram and treatment programs have helped her in the past. She wanted to be able to share what she’s learned over the past four years and help others stick with their recovery process.

When asked to give advice to someone with mental illness, Schubert had more than enough words of encouragement to share.

“Be honest and ask for help,” Schubert said. “Getting help showed me a healthier way to live. It showed me that medication can be so helpful and work on helping the chemical imbalance in my brain.”

Schubert said she uses her support system and therapy to help stay on track with recovery and stay accountable for her actions. She said it’s important to love and take care of yourself for the sake of your mental health.

She works hard to not compare herself to others and their journeys with mental illness. 

“Recovery is something you work on every day; it doesn’t take a break,” Schubert said. “Some people think you go into a treatment facility and come out healed, but it isn’t like that. You still get urges and have bad days. What treatment does is help you know when you’re struggling and not turn to destructive behaviors. We want people to be aware of that. We want people to know it can take a while, but it is worth it.”

The Nightingale Project meets every second and fourth Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. If interested in joining the organization, please contact Nina Schubert at [email protected].

Meghann Morrow is the student affairs reporter. Contact her at [email protected]