Students stand together against the mental health crisis
Since the beginning of the pandemic, anxiety and depression have increased among college students. Discussions about mental health are significant to addressing rising rates, and an OU organization is stepping up.
Our Mental Health provides a safe environment and various resources for students to discuss mental health among peers.
“I think now more than ever, mental health is taking a toll on a lot of people,” said OU sophomore Aria Patel. “Before college, people talking about depression and other mental health issues were taboo and not really talked about, but now I’ve realized that it’s not a joke anymore.”
According to an Active Minds survey, 20% of college students report their mental health has worsened 89% of students are experiencing stress or anxiety due to COVID-19.
However, approximately 33% of students “reported an increase in supporting others with their mental wellness,” said a statement from Active Minds.
Our Mental Health works to “create an environment to where people can talk about their mental health and be another resource another outlet for people to reach out to,” said Quinn Bunnag, the organization’s new president.
Throughout the Spring 2021 semester, the group has met bi-weekly over Zoom to hear from guest speakers, participate in mindfulness exercises, and learn about various resources and coping mechanisms.
“Many people struggle with different forms of mental health issues at varying levels of severity,” said OU sophomore Lauren Sims. “Having open conversations about mental health will encourage those struggling to be more comfortable and open with their own issues as well as allowing people to find the support they need.”
OMH will partner with the Bandana Project, a mental health awareness and suicide prevention campaign, in the fall.
“We’re going to have this initiative of people who pledge to be part of this movement,” explained Bunnag. “They’re going to have a green bandana and it on their backpack, and that basically lets people know that ‘I want to talk about anything related to mental health and if you need any resource cards, I have some available too.'”
The organization also wants to begin philanthropic efforts for underserved communities, fundraising to provide access to those who lack mental health resources.
“For anybody who is finding themselves struggling during this pandemic, just know that you most definitely aren’t alone,” said Rameen Zubair, OMH External Relations chair. “I would really urge people; just taking a small step of communication could really help you if you need that door later on.”
To get involved with Our Mental Health or to find mental health resources visit their Facebook page.