Hi, I’m Dani, and I’m delighted to introduce myself as the other 50% of the Fall 2016 Send Silence Packing road staff! It’s great to meet you.
What can I say, the past few weeks have been a whirlwind! In late August I packed my bags, said my goodbyes, and hopped on a plane to D.C., eager to embark on a 70-day journey across the United States. I was in disbelief that I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel and support a cause I am so passionate about. It’s now almost two weeks since I boarded that flight and I’m still not sure it’s fully sunk in that this is my life!
When I read the Send Silence Packing Staffer job posting I knew I had found my dream job. Road tripping, mental health advocacy, and college populations all in one job?!?!? It just seemed too good to be true. But here I am in a hotel room in Oklahoma pinching myself and wondering, “How did I get here?”
Some of you may be wondering the same thing, so hopefully I can clear things up for all of us! I graduated from The University of Vermont in 2012 with a degree in Environmental Studies but a burgeoning passion for mental health. During my senior year one of my best friends’ mental health started to deteriorate. As one of his primary supports I was introduced to a whole new realm of mental health care that I had never known before. I am grateful for having witnessed the barriers he encountered when trying to access care, and to the stigma surrounding bipolar and transgender people within the mental health community.
I have since pursued a career in the mental health field and have worked in diverse workplaces ranging from a teen substance abuse clinic, to a funeral home, to the counseling and wellness service at New York University. When the opportunity to join Active Minds as an SSP Staffer presented itself it seemed like the perfect next step.
I am so thrilled to be part of Active Minds and to bring my passion to the Fall 2016 tour of Send Silence Packing. Stay tuned for more updates from the road!
Hey everyone! My name is Samantha (you can call me Sam).
I am one of the new Send Silence Packing Staffers for the Fall 2016 Tour. I graduated with a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham this past May, and from the moment I heard Active Minds was looking for new road staff, I knew I had to apply.
I joined UAB’s chapter of Active Minds as a freshman and in my four years I had the privilege of witnessing our little chapter grow from 4 members to 40 and more. Having hosted SSP on my own campus, I saw first-hand how the display could impact a community, and I am honored to be able to bring a similar effect to campuses across the country.
Joining the Active Minds Team as an SSP Staffer has given me the opportunity to stay involved with the organization, fulfill my love of travel, and continue making an impact on communities across the country. Though we have only completed a few displays so far, I can already tell this is going to be extremely rewarding work. I am looking forward to what the rest of the tour has in store for us, and I cannot wait to share it with all of you!
We’re about a week away from kicking off the Fall 2016 tour of our nationally recognized suicide prevention display, Send Silence Packing! Similar to last fall, we’ll be visiting colleges and universities across the Midwestern states and throughout California.
Send Silence Packing consists of 1,100 donated backpacks, representing the number of college students lost to suicide each year. The program is designed to raise awareness about the incidence and impact of suicide, connect students to needed mental health resources and inspire action for suicide prevention.
The Fall 2016 tour starts next week at West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV and will then travel to 13 additional locations in Pennsylvania, Illinois and California. See below for the full list of dates and locations. We’ll be in the road for quite some time, September 6 – November 2, so keep an eye on the blog and @active_minds on Instagram during the tour to see pictures from the displays.
We’re excited to introduce you to the Class of 2016 for our Emerging Scholars Fellowship, an Active Minds program that grants funding to young researchers studying mental health.
Throughout the next five months, the scholars will be sharing their research updates on the blog, so make sure to check back continuously!
Let’s meet our superstars:
Alfred Delena, Stanford University
Research project: Examining the lived experience of well-being among first-generation, low-income undergraduate students of color at highly selective universities.
Alfred Delena is a 5th year undergraduate senior pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Human Biology, along with both a Minor and Honors in Education at Stanford University. As a Human Biology major, Alfred’s area of concentration focuses on Psychological and Educational Approaches to Understanding the Health, Well-being, and Resilience of the Developing Human. Alfred is one of our 2016 Stephen C. Rose Legacy Scholars. Read more about Alfred’s background and research.
Corey Falls, Loyola University Maryland
Research project: Bridging the gap in literature regarding cyberbullying, specifically on social media, and to discover the relationship between anonymous social media and cyberbullying.
Corey Falls is an undergraduate sophomore studying for her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology at Loyola University Maryland. She plans to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology. Corey wants to contribute to research and knowledge on cyberbullying. Read more about Corey’s background and research.
Have you ever been curious about what it means to be part of the Emerging Scholars Fellowship?
Hear from two of our most recent scholars on why they valued their experiences with the Fellowship and the impact it had on them as student researchers.
Jessica maintains a blog called “Adventures in the Psychology of Mind and Body”, and recently had an article published in the November 2015 issue of Psychology Today. Learn more about Jessica’s fellowship project here.
Active Minds would like to join our friends at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law in applauding the American Bar Association’s call for an end to discriminatory use of mental health screening for bar applicants.
During their annual meeting earlier this month, the ABA’s House of Delegates voted to approve a resolution that urges state and territorial bar licensing entities to eliminate any questions about an applicant’s mental health history, diagnosis or treatment when determining character and fitness for the purpose of bar admission. The resolution states that the questions should instead focus on conduct behavior that impairs an applicant’s ability to practice law in a competent, ethical and professional manner.
Active Minds was first introduced to this topic when 2009 Emerging Scholar Theresa Esquerra conducted a study of the mental illness disclosure requirements on Moral Character and Fitness applications for state bar admissions. Theresa’s study intended to identify which states’ disclosure requirements may be unconstitutional and suggested that state bars provide law school students with mental illnesses an independent medical evaluation of their condition. Since her time as an Emerging Scholar, Theresa has served on the Bazelon Center’s Leadership 21 Committee, and is currently on the Advisory Board of the Dave Nee Foundation. As an advisory board member, she also contributes to the work of the Starr Initiative on Character and Fitness, which was inspired by her 2009 project. Continue Reading
I don’t know if you’ve all noticed, but it seems like the transgender community has been gaining more and more visibility in the last few months…
It’s been amazing to see, and I feel honored to be doing this research at a time when society seems to be becoming more open to the experiences and needs of transgender and non-binary individuals.
On that note, I think it’s time to share some of the findings that have come from my time as an Active Minds Emerging Scholars Fellow.
Cutting through the culture’s noise about idealized bodies, a group of New School students is working to create a space where individuals are welcome to express “our bodies on our terms.”