A group of students affiliated with Columbia University’s Global Mental Health Programs have created a blog to engage youth voices in the conversation about mental health.
Young Minds for Mental Health is a coalition of college students striving to raise awareness and reduce stigma through conversation. They write weekly blog posts that are insightful, informative pieces about mental health to initiate dialogue, promote awareness, and give a voice to young people that empowers them to speak up in their own local communities, especially on college campuses.
Founded by high-school friends, Julia Pike-Forster and Sara Wetzler, who are juniors at Johns Hopkins University and Harvard College respectively, YMFMH brings together fellow college students to engage people to talk about mental health, educate the public on the importance of mental health as a critical and pervasive issue, and empower young advocates to speak up and take action. Although more and more young people are opening up and sharing their personal stories (which is truly incredible), oftentimes, college students are not involved in the discussion about the mental health field in general. Young Minds is a platform for students to share their personal stories, as well as comment on the culture on their college campuses and how mental health gets dealt with in college, on social media, and in conversations among peers.
Too often people, especially college students, refuse to seek help if they are struggling, or are afraid to talk to their friends and acknowledge that they may not be well. Young Minds for Mental Health works to de-stigmatize mental illness, lets students know that it is okay to not be okay and that they are not alone, and that they are able to get help if they need it. Moreover, if their own environments do not promote mental wellness, students could be encouraged to start conversations and change their local communities to acknowledge the importance of mental health and how they can do something about it.
Mental wellbeing is fundamental to overall wellbeing. There is no health without mental health. College is a time where adolescents are growing up and it oftentimes sets the tone for adult life. In fact, it is during the college years that many mental illnesses have their initial onset. It is crucial that people understand the importance of mental health so that they can take care of themselves for the rest of their lives, which will not only contribute to their overall happiness, but will help them improve their work life, social life, and personal wellbeing. As such, Young Minds for Mental Health recognizes how important mental health is, and through these blog posts hope to give young people power to help make a change in their local communities.