Announcing the 2023 George Orley Student Mental Health Advocate Award Winners


Sarah Acree

Two remarkable student advocates were recognized for their contribution to improving mental health on their campuses at the 2023 Depression on College Campuses Conference.

The awardees, Meghna Singh of the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and Elijah Heslop of Butler University, were presented with the George Orley Student Mental Health Advocate Award at a banquet luncheon on the second day of the conference. Each student, nominated by peers and colleagues for their demonstrated impact on their communities, received a placard and $1,000 award to a project or organization of their choice.

About Meghna Singh

A current senior studying community and global public health at the University of Michigan, Meghna Singh has shown a deep commitment to the prevention of suicide among her peers through her advocacy and daily work on campus. She was recognized for her passion, advocacy and consistent use of an equity framework to uplift marginalized voices who

Image of Meghna Singh with her award
Meghna Singh

have historically been some of the most vulnerable populations. 

In her nomination, Nnemoma Chukwumerije, a senior high school advisor at the Jed Foundation, praised Singh for continuous dedication to suicide prevention through her support of mental health research as a student associate study coordinator at the Healthy Minds Network, where they first met. Since meeting in 2021, Chukwumerije has come to know the depth and breadth of Singh’s passion for this worthy cause. 

“She keenly knew what support she and her classmates needed while she was in high school, especially since her community faced two youth suicide clusters in a span of five years,” her nomination letter reads. “Meghna has been a huge advocate for mental health and not only demonstrates that through the work she engages in but in her everyday actions.” 

In addition to her involvement in mental health research on campus, she serves as the walk chair for U-M chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and serves as the vice chair on the board of directors of Project Safety Net, a Bay Area non-profit that advocates for community wellness and suicide prevention through education, outreach, training, access to services and policy advocacy. 

About Elijah Heslop

Image of Elijah Heslop with his award

A dedicated leader on his campus, Elijah Heslop is a junior at Butler University where he is double majoring in combined psychology and philosophy, and computer science. He currently serves as director of the mental health and well-being board within the Butler University Student Government Association. Heslop was recognized for his expansive network of key well-being stakeholders to influence positive change in the Butler community. 

His work and advocacy have had a visible impact on his campus. Together with his team, Heslop designed surveys for both faculty and students to understand their knowledge of well-being on campus. The results helped guide the implementation of well-being activities available on campus, as well as partnering with on-campus resources to broaden access to mental health service providers across Indianapolis. 

In his nomination, Katie Stanley, chief of staff for the Butler University Student Government Association, recognized Heslop as “an outstanding leader, an incredible advocate for mental health, and a champion of everyone around him” who is “unbelievably well rounded and dedicated.”

About the George Orley Student Mental Health Advocate Award

The George Orley Student Mental Health Advocate Award is made possible through the generous support of Randy and Diane Orley of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, along with their children Amanda and Sam Orley. The award is named to honor the memory of their son and brother, George Orley, who lost his life to depression prior to his junior year at the University of Michigan in August 2013. Undergraduate and graduate students are nominated from across the country for this prestigious award, which recognizes outstanding student leadership in the area of campus mental health.