Looking for a creative way to start a conversation about mental health and engage a large population in your community or on your campus? Active Minds at Rochester Institute of Technology may have found one of the most creative ways yet to engage their campus, get the word out about their chapter, and educate their peers at the same time: they brought The White Balloon to their campus.
The goal of this program was to inform peers about the proportion of college students who live with mental illness in the United States. They accomplished this goal in three ways: balloons, mystery, and social media.
This post is part of a Suicide Prevention Month blog series. Read the other blogs here.
I am alive.
Some days, this surprises me. I think of all that has happened in the 20.5 years of my life and am shocked to find myself still standing, still breathing, heart still beating. If you asked me a couple years ago if I would live to see 21, I would have laughed in your face. I would have said that my illnesses would probably take me before I even reached 18.
My illnesses are not physical; they are mental. That does not mean that they are any less serious, life-threatening, or difficult. It means that everyday I was fighting a battle against myself. I was at war with my own being and that was difficult on its own.
At age 17, after spending three years trying to balance my eating disorder, depression, borderline personality, anxiety, and self injury alongside of high school and being a “normal” teenager, I decided it was time to give up. I was tired of trying medication after medication. I was tired of going through so many different therapists. I was tired of fighting. I thought that it was never going to get better and that treatment was failing me. I felt hopeless.Continue Reading
The mental health of the Black undergraduate community is vitally important. After talking with several student-led campus organizations, myself and a team of passionate undergraduate students created this video to encourage dialogue about mental health challenges, stigma, and resources both on campus and nationally.
In addition to sharing this video, I’m excited to share with you some of the main findings of my Emerging Scholars Fellowship research!
#1. Racial discrimination is still an important risk factor related to mental health symptoms of anxiety and depression for Black college students. Interestingly, different aspects of the experience of racial discrimination were related to different mental health symptoms.
Occidental College has been named Chapter of the Month for May! Their stigma-fighting techniques have caught our eye and we want every chapter to know about them, too.
Active Minds at Occidental College did not rest for a minute this spring semester, working continuously to break the barriers to mental health services on campus.
In addition to leading a diverse panel of 10 students who spoke openly about their mental health issues to a large classroom of peers, the chapter was also recently recognized for their on-campus advocacy for the addition of a peer mentoring program in the counseling center.
The most enlightening and enriching experiences of my project so far have arisen from opportunities to have conversations with campus student groups about mental health in the Black undergraduate student community.
In these sessions I first asked students to help me brainstorm what barriers they saw to talking about mental health and seeking mental health support in the Black undergraduate community. Some of the most common barriers students mentioned were:
Financing campus mental health services – uncertainty about payments, only a certain number of sessions for free, what happens after graduation
Feeling like one needs to be perfect
Not feeling like there’s enough time in the day
Not seeing people of color seeking mental health support or working at places that provide mental health support
Here are photos of UNC’s Active Minds Chapter in front of their brainstorming boards.
How a Transgender Teen’s Cries for Help on Reddit and Tumblr Powered a Movement Against ‘Conversion Therapy’
Having experienced and decried conversion therapy, Leelah Alcorn begged for the world to “fix society” in her last post on tumblr. With traction from mounting from an online petition bearing Alcorn’s name, the White House supports the efforts to ban conversion therapy at the state level.
Reminder: These apps are not substitutes for clinical assistance. If you’re feeling suicidal or are experiencing a mental health emergency, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-TALK.