By Kelly Davis, MHA National Manager of Peer Advocacy, Supports, and Services
Mental Health America is proud to announce the members of its first ever Collegiate Mental Health Innovation Council (CMHIC).
CMHIC is made up of 15 students and recent graduates from across the country who are moving beyond awareness and taking action to address mental health in their campus communities.
Click on each photo to read about their work.
Carter Kofman is a person in long-term recovery, which means he has not used drugs or alcohol since September 5th, 2014; he is also a person who lives with mental health conditions. As a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he is currently working in the recovery field with the goal of making mental health and addiction recovery resources more accessible. While attending UW-Madison, he had the opportunity to serve as chair of the Collegiate Recovery Community, Live Free, and advocated for access to recovery resources, the dismantling of stigma, and education related to addiction and recovery. He believes that addressing the intersections of addiction and mental health conditions is crucial to supporting life in recovery, especially for young people and college students who experience unique challenges and opportunities in school settings. As a member of the Collegiate Mental Health Innovation Council, he hopes to increase the availability of a wide range of resources for students so there no longer needs to be a choice between recovery and a college education.
Semrau is the Founder & CEO of BetterMynd, an online mental health and teletherapy platform for college campuses. Cody graduated from Colgate University in 2014 where he received a degree in Political Science and Creative Writing. While a senior at Colgate, Cody experienced his own mental health issues, which has inspired him to make mental health resources more accessible and more transparent for all college students. Cody has a passion for social entrepreneurship and in using technology to improve the well-being of young adults.
Gabby is 19-years-old and a sophomore Music Industry major at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is also the founder and CEO of Buddy Project, a non-profit organization aiming to prevent suicide and raise awareness for mental health. Buddy Project recently launched a Campus Rep program in March 2017 to give students across the globe the opportunity to spread awareness for mental health on their middle school, high school, and college campuses. Gabby is currently a member of Hack Harassment's Advisory Board, Crisis Text Line's Youth Advisory Council, and the Real Time Academy of Short Form Arts & Sciences. She is also a sister of the Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority and an ambassador for Clover Letter.
Helmi Henkin is a senior psychology and French major at The University of Alabama from Menlo Park, California. Mental health is her greatest passion and she pursues advocacy in mental health related causes whenever she can. She participates in local advocacy as NAMI Tuscaloosa's Ending the Silence Program Coordinator and Connection Support Group Facilitator, and as NAMI Alabama's Smarts Advocacy Training co-coordinator. Every year she raises money for her local Out of the Darkness Walk and speaks to legislators about the importance of increased funding for mental health resources as an AFSP Field Advocate. Through her involvement in on campus research, volunteer work as a Crisis Text Line Crisis Counselor, and internships in London and Bali, she has gained clinical experience in the mental health field as well. She is currently on the Board for NAMI Alabama. Last year she served on the Jed Foundation's Student Advisory Council and she cannot wait to be a part of Mental Health America's Collegiate Mental Health Innovation Council this year.
Born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Jalyn Radziminski is a rising senior at Emory University double majoring in linguistics and human rights. Jalyn is an activist recognized by Humanity in Action who dedicates a lot of her work addressing issues surrounding mental health for people of color and mass incarceration. Through her experience leading groups MERGE, Multi-Ethnic Racial Group at Emory, and Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority Inc., Jalyn addresses the necessity of building bonds between people of different races, cultures, religions backgrounds, and lifestyles as well as promoting the acknowledgement of intersections of identity. She promotes mental health awareness for people of color as the founder of her university's Black Mental Health Ambassadors program and creates mental health vlogs on her YouTube channel, "CouraJAYus".
Kenna Chick is currently a sophomore at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Her greatest passion is mental health policy and advocacy, especially on destigmatizing mental illness and removing barriers to treatment. She plans on creating her own major in Global Mental Health Legislation, studying different cultural values and traditions and how they impact mental health legislation in different countries. As the current Chair of the Georgetown University Student Association Mental Health Health Policy Team, she is working on many projects that focus on destigmatizing, educating, and eliminating barriers to access to mental health resources. One of the projects is to implement off-campus therapy stipends, as psychotherapy in the DC area is notoriously expensive and the University’s services are short-term. In addition to that, she is the Director of Outreach for Project Lighthouse, an anonymous peer to peer chat-line that provides information about campus resources and peer support. Finally, she is on the Youth Advisory Board of the Steve Fund (a group that aims to destigmatize mental health and increases access to services for people of color in college) and Young Mind Advocacy’s Generation Bold (a group that focuses on mental health care for transition-aged youth).
Maggie Skoch received her BA in Theology/Arts and Letters Pre-Health at the University of Notre Dame in 2016. She currently attends Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University Chicago, where she is pursuing a concurrent MD/MA in Bioethics and Health Policy with the intent to practice psychiatry. After her own experience with a mental illness, Maggie became an active advocate for student mental health at Notre Dame, working as an intern in the Division of Student Affairs and serving as the President of Notre Dame’s NAMI chapter. She received The Jed Foundation’s Student Voice of Mental Health Award in 2016 as a result of this work.
Mahima is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California with a B.A. in History. She is a first generation Indian American woman and is passionate about singing and writing. Health advocacy became a core part of her college experiences this past year as she struggled with PTSD and depression and side-effects of psychiatric medicine. As she found it very difficult to communicate my health and supportive needs to friends, family, and faculty and secure adequate mental health services on and off campus, Mahima began self-advocating by sharing her story of recovery from anorexia nervosa from ages of 13-19 in spoken word poetry, music videos, and talks with student government. Her advocacy was surprisingly heard across multiple campuses in California and led her to an opportunity to lead a college mental health organization (Active Minds at USC). These experiences have motivated her lifelong commitment to bettering access to young adult mental and physical health services, especially in South Asian American communities she was raised in. As a member of MHA's Collegiate Mental Health Innovation Council, Mahima looks forward to creating settings for students and campus professionals to have long-term conversations on wellness and peer support and to work together to establish adequate health services on campus.
Max Rothman is a rising senior from Los Angeles, California who is pursuing a major in Economics and a minor in Business at the University of Michigan. Max has dedicated much of his time on campus to mental health initiatives and organizations including Wolverine Support Network (WSN), Central Student Government Mental Health Task Force, Athletes Connected, and Greek Life Mental Health Chairs. Currently, in his role as Director of Program Development for WSN, he is working on the national expansion of the organization to universities around the country. Max is also a tennis enthusiast who is on the University of Michigan Club Tennis team and has just started a tennis podcast.
Miana Bryant is a senior at East Carolina University pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Criminal Justice. She is the president and founder of the 4x award winning Mental Elephant, an organization focused on spreading awareness about mental illnesses in adolescents. The Mental Elephant has over 200 active members, and hosts mental health events every month on different campuses.
Her passion for mental health stemmed from her own personal battles with depression and anxiety throughout her adolescence. Though wounded, Miana turned her pain into ‘The Mental Elephant” in order to reach other people around the globe that battle the same problems.
Peggy Wunderlich is a returning student at Southeastern Community College (SCC) pursuing a degree in Interactive and Social Media Marketing. Her passion is helping others, especially advocating for mental health and education. Peggy believes in having a positive impact in our society and paying it forward.
She has acquired her Associate of Arts degree from SCC in West Burlington, Iowa and has completed additional studies at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.
Currently, Peggy is serving on the Alumni Association Board at SCC and has been the Iowa Region Phi Theta Kappa Alumni Fundraiser Coordinator for the past four years (PTK is a two year International Honor Society for Community Colleges).
Peggy has received a PTK Outstanding Leadership and Community Service Award. Also, she was selected to the 2010 All-Iowa Academic Team in recognition of scholarly achievements presented by the Iowa Community Colleges, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Peggy has been awarded two PTK International Alumni Appreciation Awards, which she was nominated for her actions and support given to others and to the organization.
Shivpriya [Priya] Sridhar is a rising sophomore at UNC Chapel Hill and Robertson Scholar at UNC-CH and Duke University, where she is pursuing degrees in Public Policy and Global Health. During her freshman year, she founded the UNC-CH Mental Health Ambassadors chapter to promote conversation around mental health, destigmatize mental illness, facilitate support networks, and present educative programming on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill
Priya believes that as students, we all should achieve a basic knowledge and set of skills to deal with the augmented threat to good mental health on campus.
Most recently, Priya interned at Orleans Public Defenders as a client advocate, where she addressed the medical, mental health, and re-entry needs of inmates in New Orleans.
Priya is certified in Mental Health First Aid USA, was a 2015 Bezos Scholar at the Aspen Institute, and a 2017 Conference Delegate at the Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development. In her spare time, she enjoys playing violin for her church, running, and reading.
Sam Orley is a Senior at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business and the Executive Director of Wolverine Support Network (WSN), one of the nation's first collegiate peer-to-peer support models. Since inception, WSN has held over 1,000 peer-led groups dedicated to mental health and well-being, and is now actively expanding its model to high schools and other colleges across the country. He is inspired by his brother's legacy to drive positive social and environmental impact in his community and across the world, with past experiences relating to sustainable energy systems, healthy living and urban challenges. At the University of Michigan, he is also involved with the Detroit Revitalization and Business Initiative and the Center for Positive Organizations.
Satvik Sethi is an international sophomore from India majoring in Business Administration and Management at the State University of New York at Binghamton. With his vision of making the world happier, Satvik has started a social entrepreneurial venture called Runaway that aims to promote mental health awareness and help those in need of emotional support. He has also undertaken many social initiatives that focus on rural empowerment, mental health, and collaborative learning by leading social service projects in schools, colleges and villages in association with various national and international organizations. In his free time, Satvik enjoys writing poetry, composing music and seeking new adventures.
Leah Goodman is a licensed occupational therapist, clinical doctoral student and certified yoga instructor from Miami, Florida. She graduated with a BS in psychology from the University of Florida, an MA in occupational therapy from the University of Southern California, and will receive her clinical doctorate in occupational therapy (OTD) from the University of Illinois at Chicago in December 2017.
At UIC, Leah contributes to a research team that explores community participation disparities for people with disabilities. Her current doctoral work focuses on supportive, mental health and disability services for university students. Leah strongly believes in the value of integrating wellbeing into higher education, and is passionate about making college an accessible and positive experience for all students.