Mental Health - College Campuses: Persona, POV Statement, and Proposal

  PRE-PROPOSAL 1. Media Artifact

Link to media artifact(s) giving background on the issue: University of Michigan Mental Health Podcast

2. Persona and POV statement Persona: Persona name: Zachary Age: 21 School/occupation: Ross School of Business ~ University of Michigan Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan   Quote: "Sorry, I don't have time to hang; my test is tomorrow and none of my friends will help me study"     About:
  • Is a first-generation college student pursuing a career in Finance
  • Works as a Residential Advisor and barista at Bert's Cafe
  • Enjoys paticipating in college nightlife and social scenes
Goals:
  • Get a well-paying job to support his family
  • Leave Michigan with a strong network of friends
  • Excel in school without compromising his mental health

 

POV Statement:

Zachary, an ambitious, stressed business-school student needs to find a more effective way to balance his school work and personal life because the sacrifices he makes socially to succeed in school is negatively affecting his mental health.

 

Solution 1: Spread of Information 

Centers of different campuses see the most traffic in terms of students, so we want to position volunteers in those areas in order to help spread important information regarding mental health. We can hand out flyers that help destigmatize issues surrounding mental health (maybe statistics showing how many kids are affected in your specific campus) as well as illuminating resources around campus that students, no matter full time or part time, have access to. UM Ann Arbor, Flniit, and Wayne St. already have existing mental health resources, but a huge problem we identified is that students are often unaware of their location and their benefitrs. Our initiative helps draw attention towards resources on campus as well as helping to destigmatize the problem. 

 

More speciifcally, we want to create some sort of program that exists on campuses and schools around the State. We think that having student volunteers, no matter what age, learn and be able to speak to others about mental health and potential solutions is the best way to spread information. This program would be state funded, and required on campuses around the state. We understand that there are so many different demographics going through countless different problems, and having students from each pocket of the state learn and talk about their own mental health problems seems like the best way to address a mass amount of issues. 

 

These programs are worth funding because it puts those who want to help, and who have suffered from the same issues people in their respective areas are suffering from, in a position of power and in a position to help. 

Solution 2: Open Mic Event

This solution is sepcific, and is malleable in terms of potential variations to this type of event, but an open mic serves to allow people to express themselves freely. Weekly open mic events lets students know they are not alone, and putting them in a judge-free environment while giving them the ability to speak helps alleviate issues surroungding mental health. No matter what campus you study on, feeling like there is no one to talk to or no one else is expericning your problems magnifies your stressors, and an open mic event helps increase comradery amongst students while giving them another avenue to express themselves. 

Solution 3: Workshops

Mental health professionals exist on campuses already, but centraliznig their knowledge in the form of workshops gives students an incredible opportunity to learn more about strategie to help mitigate their stressors. We think the biggest problem is lack of knowledge/awareness, and providing a more formal setting for students to learn could be tremendously beneficial. Some students might not be comfortable enough to seek out a professional one-on-one or speak up at an open mic event, so this provides accessible resources to more introverted students around campus. 

Research Process: Our initial reserach started through Google. Dean and I read a lot about mental health, specifically depression and anxiety, and how it impacts students on campuses. Instantly, we discovered that this was an incredibly prevalent issue. We took it upon ourselves to put together a survey. We sent it out to our friends and family, as well as our peers on college campuses throughout the state of Michigan. From these conversations and the data that was collected, we concluded that a taskforce would serve well to alleviate many of the issues. People thought that having a workshop-type program, run by mental health professionals funded by the government, would give students access to a type of remedy that seemed approachable and fun. At the end of the day, we wanted to try and come up with a solution that we would want to participate in; something that is de-stigmatizing and welcoming for all types of students. 

Consultations:

Consultation 1: Benjamin Gerstein - Student Body President

I had the pleasure of sitting down with student body president Benjamin Gerstein. Not only did I want to make sure that he thought our proposal would be effective, but I really wanted to understand his perspective on the feasibility of implementation. I talked with Ben about existing infrastructure at Michigan, and if he thought bringing in external professionals would help alleviate some of the workload of CAPS and other resources on campus. Ben said that through panels and other networking events, he found that an overwhelming majority of students thought that professional help might not have been the best avenue for them to seek mental health remedies. He said the conception of a peer-to-peer workshop guided by professionals would be helpful in stimulating organic conversation. I told him that our main goal was to try and solve this wide-seeking problem from the bottom up; grassroots workshops conducted by students, but facilitated by professionals, was our idea of helping create a long-standing solution. I told him about our clearing house, and how it would be government funded, thus making the cost of implementation for certain school’s low compared to the benefit they would receive. More specifically, he gave me insight into how University’s incur a lot of un-needed costs associated with drop outs related to mental health illnesses. We agreed that this idea could help colleges significantly reduce this cost while also providing additional resources, something that is priceless, to their campuses.

 

Consultation 2

 

Dr. James—New York Clinician, with offices located in Uptown Manhattan (mental health professional). After speaking with a close family friend of mine who works very closely with a variety of students, many of which are college aged, I felt even more confident in the tremendous impact the implementation of our proposed clearing house would be. We spoke extensively about the prominent, negative role that social media plays in the mental health of many young people, and he viewed the creation of guiding materials to be a fitting solution. He pushed back on the circulation of these materials, and urged the need to broadly advertise these guidelines in order to maximize the quantity of people impacted and the effectivity of these materials. 

 

Consulation 3

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #454545}

We spoke with an anonymous freshman from Wayne State that we connected with through Dean’s housemate. Ahead of our consultation, I asked if she would be okay with sharing personal information regarding her mental health history. We thought this would be a good idea because it would really help us better understand mental health issues pertinent to her specific campus. To our benefit, she agreed, and we were able to have a really informative conversation regarding not only her mental health, but experiences from some of her peers. We learned that she was in class with a lot of adults who worked part-time jobs and even had children; compared to our own college experiences, this could not have been more different. We learned that our proposal had to be more broad; the colleges we wanted our proposal to target had students that were dealing with anxieties on the opposite side of the spectrum compared to me and Dean. Aside form learning that our proposal needed to reach a larger audience, we gained beneficial insight into how peer workshops would be received. We asked if she, along with some of her classmates, would be comfortable with participating in a workshop that emphasized sharing experiences with one another. Dean and I hoped that the workshops, facilitated by professionals, would allows students to hear experiences from their peers, showing them that they were not alone and that there were people, beyond the professionals on their campus, that wanted to help them get better. Hearing from her helped us better tailor our proposal to a myriad of different campuses.

 

Preambulatory Clauses:

WHEREAS... 3.9% of adults aged 18 and older have experienced serious pyschological distress in any given 30 day period

​WHEREAS...  30% of college freshman report feeling frequently overwhelmed, inhibiting their ability to engage in school and social life

WHEREAS... The Amerian Journal of Pyschiatry found that five percent of students do not finish their education due to psychiatric disorders and estimated that 4.29 million people would have graduated from college had they not been experiencing such disorders

​WHEREAS... Project LETS, a peer-run, student mental health organization on campuses such as Michigan St., Brown, Dartmouth, Smith College, Adelphi, and Indiana University - Bloomington, has proved to increase transparency regarding mental health illness, ultimately reducing the number of student drop outs related to mental health complications

​WHEREAS... The community surrounding educational institutions is negatively affected when students are unable to finish their degrees and contribute valuable skills in a competitive job market.

WHEREAS... Campuses incur high social costs when students with mental health difficulties do poorly on course work and drop out of school

 

 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED...

1)  Establish a government-funded clearing house that accomplishes three specific objectives: create guiding materials for how to best navigate social media platforms, facilitate the conception of peer-to-peer workshops, and build and update an online databse of mental health best practices.

2) The peer-to-peer workshops, like the "mental health workgroup" on the University of Michigan campus, helps students cope with scenarios that exacerbate their mental anxieties, ultimtely providing them with a support network of students, faculty, and a representative from the clearing house. It is important to understand that clinical and professional help does not work for everyone; student-run workshops faciliate a more organic dialogue surrounding mental health on campus

3) Make the clearing house available, in whatever capacity deemed necessary, to institutions throughout Michigan; best practices and workshop guidelines are malleable to each campus climate, and instituions who need additional guidance from experts in the clearing house have the autonomy and discretion to use their resources at any time.

4) Circulate guiding materials that help existing mental health professionals, as well as students, on respsective campuses understand the fundamentals of social media and how it impacts their mental health

5) Clearing house professionals create a best practices guide; specifically, this reference book helps professionals on campus come up with solutions to a myraid of different mental health issues. This guide is different from generic online resources because the funding utilized by the clearing house helps them design specific guidelines catered towards their college.

 

 

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica} p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica} p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica} li.li1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #454545} ol.ol1 {list-style-type: decimal} li.li1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #454545} ol.ol1 {list-style-type: decimal} p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #454545}
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Total votes: 4

Contributors