By Kelly Davis, MHA Director of Peer Advocacy, Supports, and Services
Mental Health America (MHA) is proud to announce the members of its 2018-2019 Collegiate Mental Health Innovation Council (CMHIC). CMHIC is dedicated to highlighting students who have created programs that fill gaps in traditional services and supports on their campuses.
This year’s CMHIC is made up of 10 students who are addressing mental health in several ways - from creating chat bots to working with student athletes to utilizing the arts.
Click on each photo to read about their work.
Anu Goel, William & Mary (VA)
Anu Goel is from Richmond, Virginia and spent her childhood moving between the US and India, where she attended two international schools in New Delhi and Mumbai. She’s a rising junior at the College of William and Mary, double majoring in government and psychology on the pre-law track. She is hoping to go to law school to be a child advocate attorney to help children in unsafe environments and emotionally and physically abusive homes. On campus, she is involved in Resident Life, the Office of First Year Experience for incoming students, and is on the executive board for two community service clubs, Swastha Nepal and Students for Animals. She is also on the executive board for her sorority, Pi Beta Phi, and is on the committee for Honor and Student Conduct Council. She enjoys committing her time to these organizations to be a resource to her peers and help better the community as much as she can. Mental health has played a major role in her personal life, and she is so excited to be able to learn with and help a larger community!
Cat Wang, University of California, Los Angeles (CA)
Cat Wang is a rising sophomore studying English and Communications at the University of California, Los Angeles. Born in New York, she grew up in Hong Kong, China, where her experiences and challenges with mental health inspired her to pursue mental health advocacy. At UCLA, she contributed to the Depression Grand Challenge's Resilience Peer Network, a collective of UCLA students trained to support other students by completing intensive 8-week courses in iCBT, mindfulness techniques, and group practice. She is currently in the process of creating Joelle Bruin, a holistic mental health chatbot for UCLA students that consolidates on-campus mental health resources, offers basic conversational counseling, and provides emergency contact numbers for mental health crises. Having worked as a Junior Reporter for the South China Morning Post and as an intern for CNN International, Cat seeks to apply her experience with journalism to cover mental health in communities across the world.
Chloe Camp, Emory University (GA)
Chloe Camp serves as a mental health advocate at Emory University through her role as the President of Emory Dark Arts, an advocacy group dedicated to destigmatizing mental illness through art, performance, and personal narrative. By directing Dark Arts' signature Mental Health and Well Being art showcases, she tackles stigma at a large-scale, cultural level, bringing light to under-discussed issues. Through her role as a Social Justice Coordinator for Volunteer Emory, Emory’s primary hub for social advocacy, she creates programming such as a Sustainable Activism series aimed at preventing activism fatigue and burnout. Chloe works closely with mental health stakeholders on Emory’s campus, facilitating community conversations which have led to tangible changes such as improved outreach programs through Counseling and Psychological Services, increased transparency and awareness of Emory's mental health services, and even increased mental health training for Resident Advisors. Chloe is also a member of Issues Troupe, a student theater group which highlights lived experiences and identities, through which she performs in front of Emory’s incoming first year class about her experiences with Depression, Anxiety, and an Eating Disorder. Moving forward she aims to further her work by connecting with student leaders from across the nation to fight for a world free of stigma and shame around mental health.
Daniel Solomon, Clemson University (SC)
Daniel Solomon is a student at Clemson University. Mental health has always been prevalent in his life, as it is the first step to happiness. He is the co-founder of a club called “You’re Not Alone: Clemson,” a suicide prevention researcher through “Tigers Together,” a Mental Health Initiatives Intern through Healthy Campus, and an overall mental health advocate. He is approaching his junior year and loving his line of work!
Kaileigh P Conti, Boston College (MA)
Kaileigh Conti is a Junior at Boston College in the Lynch School of Education. She is majoring in Applied Psychology and Human development, and double minoring in Psychology and Medical Humanities, Health and Culture. Her passion for mental health advocacy stems from her own experiences with mental illness. Kaileigh hopes to use the CMHIC as a way to improve and expand Boston College’s mental health resources, and raise awareness amongst her peers, educators, and the administration of her university. She believes that all students should have the ability to take care of their mental health without feeling stigmatized or having to remove themselves from an academic setting. Kaileigh looks forward to working with other mental health advocates across the country to develop new ideas and solutions for protecting college students’ well-being.
Michelle Di Muria, Arizona State University (AZ)
Michelle is currently a graduate student at ASU, seeking a degree in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. She is also the Founder and CEO of the BEE Daring Foundation, a not-for-profit organization for college campuses and mental health. Its mission statement is to eradicate the stigmas surrounding mental health on college campuses. The Foundation’s vision is to educate college campuses on the effects of mental health and how to overcome it. Its target audience is college students (undergraduate, graduate, veterans, international, and transfer students), faculty and staff, friends & family, and first responders. Since becoming a mental health advocate in 2016, Michelle has created various mental health events. She won a pitchfork award for in 2017 for best educational program, “Mental Health Awareness Week.” She has also created two amazing student organizations: Engaging Minds and the BEE Daring Advocates. Both work towards brining awareness of the different stigmas and stereotypes that surround mental health. Currently, she is working on growing her foundation. Her goal is to take the foundation and the student organization nationwide and eventually worldwide. She is also the Vice President of the Mental Health Awareness Coalition executive board. Michelle is looking forward to being part of the CMHIC this year.
Olivia Lubarsky, Towson University (MD)
Born and raised in Santa Monica, California, Olivia Lubarsky is a rising junior on the Division 1 gymnastics team at Towson University. She is majoring in Business Administration with a Legal Studies concentration, and a Psychology minor. This year, Olivia will serve as the President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Inspired by her personal experiences and observations, Olivia has founded the #OwnYourRoar campaign initiative to unite mental health and athletics, utilizing sports as the platform to increase mental health awareness and suicide prevention. #OwnYourRoar additionally aims to eradicate the glaringly obvious disconnect between the support and treatment that is received for physical injuries versus for mental illnesses. While normalizing and de-stigmatizing mental health are at the forefront of her initiative, she prioritizes increasing resources within NCAA athletic departments and building mental strength in athletes at any level. As a member of the CMHIC, she hopes to contribute a unique perspective from athletics, in striving to increase the availability of resources for all students.
Oluwanifemi Shola Dare, Spokane Community College (WA)
Nife is an international sophomore from Nigeria, who attends Spokane Community College in Washington state, and will move to the University of Washington to obtain her bachelor’s degree in Neurobiology. Her passion for mental health originated from her brother’s brutal experience with stigmatization due to epilepsy. The way that her family dealt with epilepsy and mental illness piqued her curiosity and led her to pursue her goal of becoming a neurosurgeon. She has also struggled with depression and anxiety and has been able to seek help regardless of the stigma surrounding her condition. Beyond college, Nife is a peer mentor, the founder and president of the mental health awareness club, the co-founder of the pre-health club, and the Success Networking Team Coordinator of her honor society. She also mentors youth around the Spokane area. All of these experiences have given Nife the opportunity to foster a community where mental illness is truly destigmatized and no one is petrified of sharing or talking about their struggles, and a community where mental health is as important as physical health. She hopes to go back to Nigeria after completing her medical education to change the Nigerian negative perception of mental illness and at a global level.
Stacy Jones, Fort Lewis College (CO)
Born and raised in the Central Valley of California, Stacy Jones is now a senior Exercise Physiology major with minors in Psychology and Rhetoric of Inquiry at Fort Lewis College in Colorado. She is passionate about mental health and works to promote holistic health for all and to break down the stigma surrounding mental illnesses. Through working with her campus’ Wellness Peer Advisory Council, she helps educate her community as well as host awareness events. She has also worked to create and facilitate workshops on her campus about compassion and acceptance, especially for women who struggle with body image. She will be taking this experience and her advocacy work into her master’s studies of public health. She hopes to become a Health Educator and change how we view health – making mental health and access a priority in her work.
Tasfia Jahangir, University of Southern California (CA)
Tasfia Jahangir is a junior at the University of Southern California (USC), where she is pursuing a major in Psychology and minors in Spanish and Public Health. She is deeply interested in child and adolescent mental health as a result of her part-time teaching job at 32nd Street School in Los Angeles. She also authors biweekly online content related to mental health for Psychology and Counseling Associates, a private practice in Arkansas. Tasfia is involved in a joint research project between USC and the Trauma Recovery Center in South Los Angeles to study mental health interventions for victims of violence. As an aspiring researcher, Tasfia hopes to learn about and contribute to improved intervention and treatment outcomes. As a part of the Collegiate Mental Health Innovation Council, she is excited to establish a support network among her peers and witness the incredible resiliency of the human spirit.