Frameworks for Mobilizing Students for Mental Health: A Webinar Recap

Becky Fein
Becky Fein

On Tuesday, October 30th, Active Minds hosted an hour-long webinar exploring frameworks of mobilizing students around mental health and the research that supports our upstream approach to mental health advocacy. The esteemed panelists explored the data that is demonstrating that student-powered mental health advocacy is a promising approach to changing students’ attitudes, knowledge, and behavior around mental health as well as tangible examples of institutions’ work to center student voices through policy and on-the-ground efforts.

“Stay motivated by the findings. The work that you’ve been doing to create a presence on campus… it does help progress and move things forward towards a more tolerant, supportive environment… which is also associated with greater service utilization and get students to be a better place, and may also serve in a preventive way. Keep going with that effort.” – Lisa Sontag-Padilla

Featured on the webinar:

Lisa Sontag-Padilla, PhD, Behavioral and Social Scientist at the RAND Corporation, lead researcher of the landmark study: “Strengthening College Students’ Mental Health Knowledge, Awareness, and Helping Behaviors

Melissa Celko, MBA, Director of Wellness at Kent State University, winner of the 2018 Healthy Campus Award

Stephanie Preston, PsyD, Faculty at San Jose State University and recipient of the Active Minds Advisor of the Year Award

Sadaf Skandari, MSW, former Active Minds student leader who launched a sustaining chapter and mental health movement at San Jose State

Moderated by Becky Fein, MPH, Associate Director of Programs, Active Minds and co-author of the RAND study

A few key learnings from the webinar…

From Lisa Sontag-Padilla:

  • Student peer organizations play an important role in changing the campus culture with respect to mental health and supporting students getting the mental health services they need – both important elements of addressing the unmet mental health needs of college students.

From Melissa Celko:

  • Bringing students to the table to shape decisions and policy is key.
  • Students are the “boots on the ground” – if someone is struggling, it’s most likely their peers who will know first. Engaging students in the work takes persistence and perseverance.

From Sadaf Skandari:

  • As students, it can be challenging to reach out, so we need to reach in and help them get there. Supportive staff can help change the game for students who are working to launch peer mental health efforts on campus.
  • When getting started with a chapter, be patient and trust that things will gain momentum with time.

From Stephanie Preston:

  • Centering student voices is critical to an effective response on campus. They know best.
  • My role has been to help figure out some of the policies and procedures, and help the students navigate the “behind the scenes” of running programs on campus, and supporting them to gain the permission and access that they need to accomplish their goals.

To access the full recording of the webinar, click here.

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