Increasingly, students recognize the burden of mental health challenges such as stress, depression, and anxiety. In response, they are showing themselves as "the Leaders and the Best" by addressing these campus concerns head-on.
Here are a few of the student initiatives that are making strides on campus.
Surveying students about awareness of mental health information and resources
- Resolving to add a 24-hour phone number for the U-M Counseling and Psychological Services and the Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Center to the student identity card
Recommending adding mental health resources in class syllabi
Sponsoring a town-hall meeting on mental health
Wolverine Support Network is a relatively new student organization that offers peer support groups, plans events such as Kickback Fridays to build community. They also offer a parent network, so you can learn about activities on campus.
Active Minds-UM encourages students to prioritize their mental health, connects students to campus mental health resources, reduces stigma through education, and helps create "an inclusive and compassionate community." They sponsored Mental Health Monologues, in collaboration with the local National Alliance for Mental Illness and student government. Active Minds-UM is a local chapter of the national Active Minds nonprofit organization.
This year, students also created a magazine called Mentality, the Michigan Daily student newspaper called for greater faculty involvement, and members of the Greek community organized a speak-out for students to share their experience. Students also serve on advisory boards to improve the student experience.
Although stigma remains a problem, more students are speaking openly about their own experiences to help inspire others. Recent alumnus Christina Dutzy (BA, 2013) wrote about her experience with depression:
My hope is that you will read this and be inspired to take off your mask [that all is well]; you are not alone. Do not dismiss your feelings because you are embarrassed or ashamed. Not getting help when you need it will only make it worse. Together we can take off our masks and destroy the stigma surrounding mental illness.
You can help. With the end of the semester coming up, you can check in with your student and offer support. What We Need from You to Get Through Finals offers helpful insights. And if you notice that your student is struggling, you may want to contact the Dean of Students Office at 734-764-7420 to discuss options.
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