Student advocates create healthier campus communities through meaningful advocacy, including raising awareness, advocating for outreach programs and services and reducing stigma.

The George Orley Student Mental Health Advocate Award recognizes outstanding leadership in the area of campus mental health. The 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 Randy and Diane’s son and Amanda and Sam’s brother George, who lost his battle with depression prior to his junior year at the University of Michigan in August 2013.

Nomination process

To recognize outstanding student leadership in the area of campus mental health, the University of Michigan has created the George Orley Student Mental Health Advocate Award. In 300 words or less, we ask nominators to describe how this student has helped to create a healthier campus community that fosters student success by:

  • Raising awareness of mental health issues on campus through education and outreach, and/or
  • Advocating for outreach programs and mental health services on campus which help to identify students at-risk, encourage help-seeking, and promote health self-care
  • Helping to reduce the stigma of depressive illnesses.

The nomination window for the 2024 awards will be announced later this year. 


Brandon Bond
Graduate Student, University of Michigan
School of Public Health & School of Social Work

Brandon Bond is a mental health advocate on a global scale. His diverse education background and international experience ignites his passion for helping organizations and policy makers take a humanitarian, equitable, and culturally-inclusive approach to mental healthcare. As an undergrad, Bond engaged in several experiential learning opportunities—from LGBTQ awareness work in Detroit and London to social justice initiatives in Brazil to conducting LGBTQ+ mental health assessments in Zambia. Starting graduate school during a pandemic only magnified Brandon’s drive to make an impact. At U-M’s Wolverine Wellness, Bond serves as a wellness coach for students of underrepresented identities. He is also an intervention facilitation coordinator for the Young Black Men project where among many things, he organizes barbershops on campus to integrate health and environmental well-being for students of color. Laura Blake Jones, Dean of Students at U-M’s School of Public Health states that “Brandon is an outstanding role model for others. He has empathy for those in need and is compassionate and resolute in voicing his concerns on important issues. In my tenure of over 12 years at U-M, I can think of no other student as well suited for this award than Brandon.”

Bond is pursuing an MPH in Health Behavior and Health Education with an Injury Science Certificate and an MSW in Global Social Work Practice with an Anti-Racist Trauma-Informed Care Certificate. Bond currently serves as a Social Work Intern in the National Network for Arab American Communities where he performs health and education policy analysis and works with their Infectious Disease Program.

Nominated by Dani Koel, Student Life Program Manger at University of Michigan School of Public Health; Laura Blake Jones, Dean of Students at U-M’s School of Public Health; Marsha Benz, Wellness Coaching/Brief Intervention and Motivational Interviewing Lead at University of Michigan Wolverine Wellness; Jevon Moore, Health Educator University of Michigan Wolverine Wellness



Taylor White Senior
University of North Carolina Greensboro
Major: Psychology Taylor

White has raised awareness of mental health issues on her campus as an outspoken member of the University of North Carolina Greensboro Collegiate Recovery Program (Spartan Recovery Program). She represents the program in the community and on campus, speaking to groups about her own life challenges that led her to seek treatment and inspired her interest in mental health.

Taylor is certified in North Carolina as a Peer Support Specialist, allowing her to extend her knowledge about substance abuse to persons struggling with mental health challenges. Taylor has been invited by numerous organizations to share her personal life challenges and recovery process with their communities. She is often asked to speak to Crisis Intervention Trainings on her experience with the judicial system as a teen, and her subsequent experiences as a person in long-term recovery from substance use disorder. Additionally, Taylor is a Mental Health First Aid Trainer, helping to teach faculty, staff, and students how to be aware of signs and symptoms of individuals experiencing mental health challenges.

Reverend Chesley Kennedy, Coordinator at the Spartan Recovery Program comments that “Taylor’s personal story includes dramatic and long-lasting impacts on how a young person’s life can change in the blink of an eye. Her story tells of triumph over mental health crises, and redemption as a person who eventually helps others in their own times of difficulty. She is an exemplary student, helping others advocate for themselves when experiencing their own mental health challenges.”

Nominated by: Rev/ Chesley Kennedy, Coordinator, Spartan Recovery Program, University of North Carolina Greensboro

Sara Abelson, M.P.H.
University of Michigan School of Public Health

A doctoral graduate student at the U-M School of Public Health, Abelson’s research is focused on the equity of college student’s mental health. She has worked with renowned organizations across the nation to help lead mental health initiatives, and currently serves as the Lead for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Projects for the Health Minds Network at U-M. Her advocacy helped form the public safety and policing working group in the Rackham Graduate School’s Task Force on Student Mental Health.

Abelson’s advisor, Daniel Eisenberg, Ph.D., describes her as a “stellar scholar with a genuine passion for improving how colleges and universities support the development and well-being of college students,” as well as someone who “has made important contributions to college health through advocacy, education, and research.”

“Your voice and your experiences matter,” says Abelson to her fellow classmates and students, as continues to advocate for the betterment of student mental health, which she does through both practice and research. “I’m a better researcher when I’m immersed in practice, and I’m a better practitioner when I’m also immersed in research,” says Abelson, hoping to pursue both in her career after graduate school.   

Michael Sczechowski
University of Delaware

Sczechowski is a senior majoring in Philosophy at the University of Delaware. His training as a peer support specialist has been integral for the functioning of Sean’s House on the university’s campus, a non-profit mental health safe haven available for 24/7 peer support. Sczechowski has volunteered hundreds of hours, especially during the pandemic, to help serve over 500 individuals since the House’s opening. His dedication to suicide prevention and helping others serves as inspiration for all those around him.

“Michael’s compassion and natural ability to help others has made lasting impressions on every guest who has walked through the doors. He treats everyone with empathy and sincerity and provides the safe space that many teens and young adults need to feel comfortable sharing their experiences,” says Michael’s advisor.

Michael hopes that everyone “finds inspiration to be compassionate and brave about speaking about mental illness,” and hopes to continue mental health advocacy as he pursues graduate school.

Hannah Connors
A public policy major slated to graduate this spring, Connors is the executive director of the Wolverine Support Network. Moreover, Connors is a research assistant and study coordinator for the Healthy Minds Network in the U-M School of Public Health, where she is working to develop a pilot study of mental and emotional health in secondary schools. Through a partnership with optiMize, she has helped develop a “mental health track” within their existing social innovation challenge.

"The best leaders lead by example and Hannah Connors does just that,” said Kelsey Gillhooley, U-M alumna and content marketing specialist at Talkspace, who nominated Connors. “Beyond all of the work she does through mental health programs, the incredible person she is speaks volumes. Hannah is attentive to each and every person she leads in and out of WSN and spends time forming meaningful connections with everyone around her. Her kindness and ability to empathize go unmatched, she’s truly the most outstanding leader in the mental health initiatives on campus.”

“I am continuing to support mental health on campus through my work with Wolverine Support Network, where we have transitioned our 30 weekly support groups to a virtual format,” Connors said. “I am also brainstorming other ways WSN can foster community and connection virtually in this time of social distancing. For my own mental health, I am going on long walks every day, calling my friends, and journaling so I can process this unprecedented moment in history.”

Haley DeGreve
DeGreve is a senior at Augustana majoring in business administration/marketing and communications study. DeGreve created The Gray Matters movement on campus to reduce stigma surrounding mental illness among her peers and start conversations about the gray area between mental health awareness and mental health stigma. As part of that campaign, students launched a poster campaign featuring other students with their own words about mental health, stigma and hope. Over 200 students and community members attended an unveiling of the posters amid an ice storm this past February.

“Haley is a fierce advocate and leader on campus,” said Farrah Roberts, the director of student well-being and resiliency at Augustana. “She has not only created a movement to empower her peers to share their voices and stories, but provided a safe place for them as well. As Haley says, ‘you matter, your mental health matters, The Gray Matters’.”

“I believe we still need community, now more than ever,” DeGreve said. “One way we are hoping to do this through The Gray Matters is through Facebook Live, sharing positive articles, hotline numbers, a new self-harm awareness video, and being available for each person who reaches out. We are also trying our best to coordinate resources for people in these circumstances. A lot of counseling services have now gone virtual, so we are trying to keep people aware and up-to-date on the situation and what they can do at home to build stronger resiliency and overall wellness.”

Connors and DeGreve will be invited to next year’s Depression on College Campuses Conference along with the 2021 George Orley Student Advocate Award winners. That conference will be held March 9-10, 2021, in Ann Arbor.

Kimberly Snodgrass
Junior, University of Michigan
Major: Biopsychology, Cognition & Neuroscience

As the Walk Chair for the 2019 University of Michigan Out of the Darkness Walk
(and the 2018 Co-Chair, when U of M was the #1 Campus walk in the nation
for AFSP), Kimberly will be responsible for raising nearly $250,000 dollars
on UM campus for suicide prevention/education programming, Loss and
Healing activities, faculty/staff training, and overall reduction of stigma around
depression, mental health/illness, and suicide. She first became involved as a
freshman with the first UM OOTD and has stepped up in AMAZING ways.

As the Walk Chair, she is not only responsible for overseeing the planning and logistics
of the walk. Kim also oversees the programming committee which facilitates active
programming on campus, for free, for students. From Talk Saves Lives, to It’s Real:
College Students and Mental Health, Kim manages other students who host regular
life-saving programming. Students want to know how they can help themselves, and
their friends — Kim’s work is doing just that. Using the funds she raised on campus to
equip students, faculty and community members with the tools/education they need to
stop suicides and teach better help-seeking behavior. Kim is also on track to continue
her work after UM and has a passion for reducing this leading cause of death. She
has been directly impacted by suicide and mental health related issues in her life with
family/friends, and she is driven to help others. She has engaged thousands of students
with her work and trained numerous faculty — but she is not satisfied. She continues
to beat down closed doors and find new opportunities to educate the campus. She
has hit many road blocks and red-tape with her quest to save lives and bring hope to
those affected by suicide, but it does not phase her. She is professional, diligent and
creative to make sure all the UM students on campus get what they need if/when they
deal with mental health concerns, suicidal ideations, or attempts. She deserves this.

Nominated by: Steve Windom, CNP, Area Director, Michigan, American Foundation for
Suicide Prevention; Darwin Guevarra, Doctoral Candidate in Social Psychology,
University of Michigan

Mehak Hafeez
2nd Year Master’s Student, Illinois Institute of Technology
Major: Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling

It is my great pleasure to nominate Mehak Hafeez for the George Orley Student
Mental Health Advocate Award at the University of Michigan. I cannot imagine that
there is another mental health advocate out there who could possibly be more
deserving or qualified for this award than Mehak, and I give her my strongest possible

Mehak is currently a student in the Illinois Tech Master’s in Rehabilitation and Mental
Health Counseling Program and will complete the program in May of 2019. I am
Mehak’s faculty supervisor for her clinical practicum and internship, I have been her
instructor for a number of courses, and I have worked with her on a variety of projects
over the past few years, including when she was an undergraduate here at Illinois Tech.
For over a year, Mehak has actively led American Rehabilitation Counseling Association
and Active Minds at IIT where she has hosted a number of mental health resources
and suicide prevention workshops. She has collaborated with the University’s Student
Health and Wellness Center to host Suicide Prevention Workshops and mental health
wellness events during exam weeks. She has invited numerous community speakers to
provide mental health education, resources and community outreach to the students
of IIT. She has also collaborated with PRISM, LGBTQ student organization and other
ethnically diverse student organizations to invite organizations to speak on mental
health importance and advocating for students with mental health needs.
In summary, Mehak is an impressive student leader who has consistently
demonstrated the qualities that will help her to be a superb professional in the
rehabilitation and mental health counseling field. I hold her in the highest regard. She
has shown herself to be an astute individual, possessing the talents and skills that will
assist her growing into a compassionate and conscientious rehabilitation and mental
health counselor.

Nominated by: Kelly Kazukauskas, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychology, Illinois
Institute of Technology; Patrick Corrigan, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Illinois
Institute of Technology; Nikki Legate, Master’s Student, Illinois Institute of Technology;
Adrian Gurgul, Illinois Institute of Technology

Samuel Orley
Senior, University of Michigan
Major: Bachelor of Business Administration

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 nations' first collegiate peer-to-peer support models. Sam, along with his sister and parents, helped to create the George Orley Mental Wellness Initiative in memory of Sam's brother, George, who died by suicide at age 20. 

In Sam’s 4 years with WSN, he has helped it grow to 30 support groups with over 500 student members. Sam is a tireless force behind WSN, working to recruit new members and group leaders, organize trainings, and serve as a role model for reducing stigma around mental health. It is clear that Sam has a passion for raising awareness of the unique issues related to mental health on campus, and in forwarding the peer-to-peer mission of WSN. Sam has played a key role in helping to expand the work of WSN to other high schools and universities across the country. It's obvious in working with Sam that WSN is so much more than a student organization. It is truly a family of students who work collaboratively to destigmatize mental health issues and help students find multiple avenues to seek help and support. He is inspiring students to see help-seeking as a strength, and mental health and well-being as a holistic pursuit that no one can do alone. 

In short, Sam is a dedicated and passionate advocate for transforming social norms and improving the mental health of his peers. Sam’s willingness and enthusiasm, to develop WSN into a program serving hundreds of U of M students, and to serve as a role-model on the importance of peer support and mental wellness are the perfect embodiment of what it means to be Leaders and Best at Michigan. 

Nominated by: Nancy Davis, Director of Development, Michigan Medicine; Luke Henke, PsyD, Coordinator of Peer Initiatives, Staff Psychologist; Jordan Lazarus, Undergraduate Student; Joy Pehlke, MEd, Health Educator & Wellness Coach, Wolverine Wellness; Cheyenne Stone


Megan Larson
Senior, University of California, Los Angeles
Major: Biology/Study of Religion

Megan Larson is an undergraduate at the University of California, Los Angeles, majoring in Biology and the Study of Religion. Megan is a passionate leader of mental health advocacy on her campus. She is most well-known for the co-creation of the Mind Your Mind coloring books. These remarkable coloring books combined the trendiness of adult coloring as a self-care practice, with awareness building about mental health. Each page turn reveals a piece of art created by Megan or another UCLA student that represents a different mental illness. On one side of the page, people can color in the artwork, and on the other, they will read about different mental illnesses. The popular coloring book was sold all over campus, bringing awareness to mental health while raising money for the Active Minds national mental health movement. Because of this coloring book, Active Minds at UCLA was one of the highest achieving fundraising chapters in the nation.

In addition to the coloring book, Megan is the co-creator of the phrase VAR: Validate, Affirm, Refer. The phrase was coined in response to Megan and a co-leader’s realization that they are often approached by peers who express everyday mental health struggles and didn’t always know how to respond. VAR empowers students to respond to their peers' everyday struggles effectively and productively. 

Megan is a strong and compassionate leader among her peers in the arena of mental health and social justice.

Nominated by: Rebecca Fein, MPH, California Statewide Program Manager, Active Minds

Forrest Cao
Junior, University of Michigan
Major: Business Administration & Economics

Forrest Cao is an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) at UM’s Ross School of Business and a BA in Economics. Along with co-founder Hammad Khan, Forrest created a new student organization, Mind Matters, at the Ross School of Business last year to address mental health concerns, increase wellbeing among his classmates, and decrease the stigma of seeking help. Ross students regularly compete against their classmates for top grades, internships, and full-time employment offers, creating a competitive culture. Therefore, it can be a stressful environment in which to learn and thrive. Forrest and Mind Matters have sought to normalize the stresses of the BBA program, raise awareness of common concerns and challenges, and foster positive psychology and resilience within the Ross community. This message is all the more meaningful as a student-led initiative. It is helpful to hear these messages from staff and faculty, but it seems to resonate more strongly when students hear this from their peers.  Forrest has frequently partnered with the embedded CAPS therapist and collaborated with other student groups and Central Student Government to further this goal. Despite being busy full-time students, Forrest and Mind Matters members have planned study breaks during mid-terms and finals, including meditation, free morning yoga events and “Puppies on the Patio.” 

When talking to Forrest, it does not take long to get a sense of his sincerity, positive energy, and commitment to improving mental health at Ross.  He is not looking to pad his resume; it is quite apparent that this is meaningful work about which he cares a great deal. His genuineness and warmth are impressive.  When staffing informational tables together, colleagues notice that many classmates come over to say hi to him. His leadership has been essential to Mind Matters’ growth and success at Ross.

Nominated by: Julie Kaplan, LMSW, CAPS Embedded Therapist at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business; Stephanie Pawlik, MSE, Identity and Diversity in Organizations Program Coordinator, Office of Undergraduate Programs, Stephen M. Ross School of Business


Nate Sawyer
Senior, Emory University
Major: Interdisciplinary Studies of Science and Society

Nate is the embodiment of Toni Morrison’s challenge: “Make a difference about something other than yourselves.” His work on Emory’s campus to bring student mental health issues to the fore goes beyond advocacy into the realm of transformational. That Nate does this while struggling with his own mental health and with absolutely no expectation of reward restores one’s faith in humanity.

Like many universities, Emory has a difficult time fully addressing the mental health challenges our students face. With deep energy and conviction, Nate brings together the constituents of the university concerned with student mental health—Campus and Residence Life, faculty, students, counseling services, and others—in diverse forums to discuss and begin building solutions. Nate works from the place that mental health is everyone’s responsibility, and thus, everyone needs to be involved—a collaborative campus ecosystem approach. He has done this with a rare kind of compassion, focus, and creative energy. Nate meets with key players—from students to Vice Presidents—and has become an important resource for many students, as a friend and informal counselor. He has organized a student group, Dark Arts, which uses art as a way to express difficult feelings and experiences. The organization acts as a catalyst and bridge among groups and hosts events like TED talks and strategy sessions. Just the other night, Nate and Dark Arts invited faculty, administrators, staff, and students to a dinner on mental health.  Nate laid out the basic challenges then opened the floor for students to share their experiences in mental health at Emory. After numerous testimonials, Nate led a discussion on next steps to improve the situation and announced the “Dear Emory” project, featuring photographs of students holding chalkboards with notes describing their experiences. Through his work, Nate Sawyer is making complicated, deep change at Emory.

Nominated by: Arri Eisen, Ph.D., Professor of Pedagogy, Biology, Institute for the Liberal Arts, Center for Ethics; Maggie Mang, Student, Emory University Class of 2017

Cooper Charlton
Senior, University of Michigan
Major: General Studies with a focus on Sociological Entrepreneurship

Cooper Charlton is a senior at the University of Michigan studying within the college of Literature, Science and the Arts.  In 2014, Cooper co-founded Wolverine Support Network (WSN), a student organization that works to destigmatize mental illness and promote mental health through peer facilitated support groups and bi-weekly social events. In a very short period of time, Cooper has helped to turn WSN from an idea into an organization that currently supports almost 200 students, and is still growing. 

In addition to being the current executive director for Wolverine Support Network, Cooper is using his position as President of the Central Student Government to further destigmatize mental illness and bring awareness of mental wellness to the University of Michigan campus, through policy reforms and new initiatives. One such initiative was the planning of a first-ever Mental Health Summit, which took place last semester. Leaders from a wide variety of student mental health organization were invited to come together to meet each other, share ideas, and create collaborations to increase mental health awareness and acceptance on campus. As a result of the Summit, a new working group has been formed with representatives from all of the student mental health organizations, to ensure increased collaboration and coordination of efforts moving forward.

While Cooper’s leadership positions highlight his commitment to the destigmatization of mental illness, his daily interactions with others also illustrate how passionate he is about mental health. He is always cognizant of using inclusive language, pointing out to others when their words may be contributing to a negative atmosphere around mental health, and he makes a genuine connection with all of the students and faculty with whom he interacts - always aware that everyone has something special to offer. 

Cooper’s passion for promoting mental health is clear in all settings: professional, personal, and social. He is a constant reminder that the normalization of dialogue and action around mental health is possible by working together and supporting each other along the way.

Nominated by: Cheyenne Stone, Student, University of Michigan Class of 2016

Jesse Dunn
Senior, University of Portland
Major: Psychology

Jesse Dunn has permanently changed the culture and campus at the University of Portland. After a close friend and fellow student died by suicide in March 2015, Jesse was determined to ensure that every student on our campus knew they had a place to talk, to get help, and to feel valued. He started by writing an editorial in our campus newspaper, then organized a standing room only event called “Let's Talk” that brought students, faculty, staff, and our President together to discuss the state of mental health on campus, and to develop a plan to improve it. 

Since that time, Jesse has become a renowned student leader who has been nominated for the “Gerhardt Award for Student Leadership,” which is a major campus award. He has collaborated with our counseling office on a variety of projects, and most notably helped us successfully advocate for an additional staff member. He has developed and collaborated on a dozen novel programs and initiatives, and also founded an Active Minds chapter which has instantly become one of the largest and most visible groups on campus. Jesse's work has been so impressive that he was featured in the Oregonian (the major newspaper of Portland, Oregon), and we strongly encouraged him to apply for the job of wellness coordinator within our center. He has somehow done this while teaching rock climbing and mindfulness classes on campus, and staying in good academic standing. 

The most special thing about Jesse isn't the quantity of programs and concrete changes he has made to our school, it's the way he has done it. His ability to bring people together, to share in his positivity and hope, and stay focused on common goals is exceptional. Jesse is a delightful, open-minded, and graceful human, and is a rare natural leader who has the wellbeing of others at the center of his heart. 

Nominated by: Will Meek, PhD, Assistant Director of Counseling & Training, University of Portland

Ashli Haggard
Senior, University of Maryland, College Park
Major: Community Health

It is my honor to nominate Ashli Haggard for the Student Mental Health Advocate Award. As an Active Minds chapter board member and sexual violence peer educator, Ashli has helped better align mental and sexual health resources and communications on the University of Maryland campus, ensuring that students are provided a clear and consistent message on where to find help.

Ashli worked closely with the University Health Center’s peer education groups to help integrate mental health into the peer workshop structure and curriculum. She researched and provided information on the mental health resources available on and off campus, and developed three presentations on depression and suicide, cognitive behavioral therapy, and stress management, which are now a part of the HEALTHWorks peer education curriculum.

Additionally, during the 2013-2014 academic year, she initiated bi-weekly meetings with a campus social worker, animal assisted therapist, and the head of the mental health department of the Health Center to discuss gaps in mental and sexual health education, and how to convey a consistent message across all mental health resources on campus. All peer groups meet for 90 minutes each week to ensure that departments, services, and student organizations refer students for help in a consistent manner.

Ashli regularly shares her personal experiences with other students through the local and campus media, describing her own struggles with mental health concerns and how she accessed support services. She has collaborated on a series of articles in the student newspaper, as well as petitions to the University to expand mental health resources on campus. As a result of these actions, in fall 2014 the University hired two new therapists and a new mental health nurse practitioner. Thanks in no small part to the efforts of Ashli and her Active Minds chapter, the University is now recognizing mental health as an important issue and allocating $5 million in funds to expand mental health resources over the next ten years.

Ashli is also a mental health advocate on the national level. Ashli is currently the President of Active Minds’ Student Advisory Committee, leading 11 other college students from around the country in providing the student voice for mental health, and contributing her story to the Active Minds blog. Ashli is a strong voice for advocacy and change, a true inspiration, and would be a most deserving recipient of the Student Mental Health Advocate award.

Nominated by: Laura Horne, MPH, CHES, Chapter Manager, Active Minds, Inc.

Siang-Chean (Sean) Kua
Senior, University of Michigan
Major: Neuroscience

It is my pleasure to nominate Sean Kua for the Student Mental Health Advocate Award. Sean has demonstrated an interest in and commitment to mental health issues throughout his time as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan. Sean's interest in mental health advocacy largely began after volunteering in the inpatient psychiatry unit of the University of Michigan hospital during his sophomore year. Realizing that a significant number of students faced obstacles related to their mental health, he began to direct his efforts towards advocating for greater awareness of the mental health needs of the student body.
To this end, Sean is currently involved in a number of mental health efforts on campus. He is a member of the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) Student Advisory Board, where he provides a student’s voice and input on how the CAPS programs can better reach students on campus who may be struggling with mental health concerns. Sean is also a co-founder and the campus liaison for the newly established chapter of Active Minds at the University of Michigan. Active Minds is a student-led group that aims to foster a healthier mental health climate on campus through de-stigmatization of mental illness, and connecting students to resources. Thanks to Sean, the Active Minds organization has already established strong connections with the university overall, and in particular with the various mental health-related groups on campus. Through Sean’s efforts, Active Minds is now collaborating with many different groups to promote our common mission – supporting the mental health of our students. 
Sean is also part of the Healthy Minds Student Leadership Coalition, where he represents both CAPS and Active Minds. The purpose of the Healthy Minds Coalition is to harness technology and social media to create a healthier mental health climate on campus, and ultimately, at a global level. As a member of this coalition, Sean extends his contributions on campus to a much larger scale.
Finally, Sean has been a member of the Depression on College Campuses Conference Planning Committee since his sophomore year, once again providing the student perspective to help the conference reach students and connect them with relevant information to help improve their mental health and well-being.
As you can see, Sean has dedicated himself to the mission of mental health advocacy on campus through a wide range of extra-curricular activities, while at the same time pursuing his undergraduate degree in neuroscience. I cannot think of a more deserving individual to receive the Student Mental Health Advocate Award. 
Nominated by: Lawrence Tello

Rachel Dorsey
Senior, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
BFA in Painting

Rachel Dorsey has been a cornerstone in developing student mental health advocacy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). She is an outspoken advocate for mental health resources for students and is mindful about creating a safe place for students who experience mental illness within the community. She has a keen ability to interweave the personal and the political and to shape her convictions into actions.

In 2011, Rachel helped initiate a new Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) group at SAIC, using a DBSA peer-run support group model that provides self-help (comfort and direction) through facilitated meetings. In 2012, she developed a student support group inclusive of the full spectrum of mental health needs in the SAIC community, with the vision to create a stigma-free environment for students.

In addition to her work in peer-delivered support, Rachel was chosen to be President of SAIC’s Active Minds chapter. This past year, she has been an influential student leader and, along with her peers, has successfully initiated efforts that aimed to eradicate stigma associated with mental illnesses in SAIC, including using the “Go Fund Me” online tool to raise funds from families and friends for students to attend the National Active Minds Conference.

Rachel also curated an art show in the residence halls titled “I Got Up,” which highlighted artwork focused on student mental health struggles.

Rachel has completed a 12-hour Mental Health First Aid Training course and is now an active member of the SAIC Wellness Center Student Support Network, a new effort launched to encourage natural peer support at SAIC and made possible by SAIC’s GLS Campus Suicide Prevention Grant. 

Nominated by:  Joseph Behen, Executive Director, Counseling, Health and Disability Services; April Knighton, Mental Health Promotion and Care Specialist. Counseling, Health and Disability Services, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Ryan Dougherty
Senior, University of Michigan
Major: Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience

Ryan Dougherty has demonstrated a lifelong and passionate commitment to changing the landscape of mental health in our society through his personal interactions in daily life. Ryan lends unconditional compassion to anyone and everyone he comes into contact with, and proudly speaks up for those whose voices would not otherwise be heard. 

Ryan's advocacy in mental health began in co-founding the Allies of Disability Awareness organization on campus. This organization seeks to establish a visible disability community and increase access to education at the University of Michigan. Ryan assisted in organizing two community art shows, a monthly meeting on mental wellbeing and stigma, and presented on navigating employment with an invisible disability identity such as depression.  

Ryan’s activism expanded when his peers elected him as Vice President of the Diversity Committee for the Inter-Cooperative Council (ICC). The ICC is a student-owned and run housing organization with over five hundred students. As a VP, Ryan developed curriculum and implemented the first educational initiative in the organization’s 75-year long history, focusing on social justice and inclusivity, conflict resolution, and mental health and stigma. 

Thanks to Ryan, ICC members have now participated in multiple day-long workshops focusing on the negative impact of mental health stigma on the ICC communities, and emphasizing that mental wellbeing is a collective responsibility which can be achieved through ongoing education and open conversations. These workshops empowered hundreds of students with stronger skills in starting conversations regarding depression and anxiety, and in navigating necessary mental health resources for themselves, friends, or loved ones.

Ryan’s activism goes hand-in-hand with his research, which includes community-based participatory action research in disability studies with Dr. Adena Rottenstein, and clinical research in Dr. Patricia Deldin’s Mood and Schizophrenia Laboratory, and in the College of Pharmacy. 
Ultimately, Ryan aims to establish a comprehensive mental health research and resource center that acknowledges the importance of impacting the culture surrounding mental illnesses to create a healthier society. 

Thank you for considering Ryan Dougherty for this important award. I cannot emphasize enough how strongly I feel he deserves to be recognized for his commitment to changing the landscape of mental health on our campus, and in our society.

Nominated by: Sarah Wizinsky, President, Michigan House Co-op

Piper Keyes
University of Michigan
Neuroscience B.S. 2013/Psychology M.S. 2014

We are pleased to nominate Piper Keyes for the U-M Student Mental Health Advocate Award. For the past two years, Piper has provided progressive leadership for the student organization Students For Recovery (SFR). She is committed to making the U-M campus a more inclusive and safe place for students who are in recovery, and who are trying to stay healthy and well. 

Piper is also committed to building a strong community, and has given her time generously to participate in the work that helped set the foundation for the establishment of the U-M Collegiate Recovery Program at University Health Service.  The Collegiate Recovery Program offers a supportive community within the campus 

culture that reinforces the decision to disengage from addictive behaviors, as well as educational opportunities alongside recovery support to ensure that students do not have to sacrifice one for the other.

Piper is smart, kind, funny and compassionate and has been a wonderful advocate for students in recovery, serving as President of SFR for the 2012-2013 academic year, and as Treasurer in 2011-2012. In addition, Piper has organized and participated in service projects for the group, such as cooking dinner for residents at Dawn Farm (a local recovery program), volunteering for Salvation Army, and speaking to sororities and classes on campus about how students are struggling with alcoholism and addiction. She has also organized and participated in social events for students in recovery, including sober events on St. Patrick's Day, bowling and ice skating on weekends, and sober gatherings to watch U of M football games.

Overall, Piper clearly exemplifies the qualities you are seeking in a Student Mental Health Advocate Award recipient.

Nominated by: Mary Jo Desprez, MA, Director, Health Promotion and Community Relations, Alcohol and Other Drug Policy and Prevention Administrator, University Health Service, University of Michigan; Matt Statman, Program Manager, University of Michigan Collegiate Recovery Program, University Health Service, University of Michigan 

Mariah Williams
Senior, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU)
Major: Political Science, Minor: International Relations

Mariah Williams is a trailblazer and true mental health advocate. Attending the largest HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) in the US, Mariah has single-handedly taken on the challenge of bringing mental health awareness to her peers. From a study using a nationally representative sample, we know that Black youth were substantially less likely than White youth to have used a mental health service in the year during which they seriously thought about or attempted suicide. Mariah is addressing this issue in a variety of ways. 

On campus, she started an Active Minds chapter and is working as a peer educator through FAMU’s Counseling Center.  Mariah has led a number of campus-wide campaigns including increasing awareness for over 1,000 students about the direct connection between HIV/AIDS, Substance Abuse, Hepatitis and mental health.  She also educated over 3,000 students on both the physical health and mental health disparities that exist for women of color. This past fall, Mariah garnered university support for Send Silence Packing - a large-scale suicide awareness program - to educate FAMU students on depression and suicide. Thousands of students were impacted by the program and pledged to talk about depression and suicide longer-term. 

Moving beyond FAMU, Mariah runs national webinars for HBCUs across the country on reaching students using targeted mental health programming with the HBCU Center for Excellence. She also serves as one of three students on a national behavioral health steering committee of twenty consultants and government officials with Morehouse School of Medicine and SAMHSA.  As a student on this committee, Mariah implements strategies around HBCU student leadership development, emotional intelligence and career opportunities for the Lonnie E. Mitchell Behavioral Health Academy.  Mariah has shown significant dedication to mental health education on topics ranging from depression to health disparities and stands out in her commitment among her peers. 

Nominated by: Rachael Datz, Southern Regional Chapter Manager, Active Minds, Inc. 

David Catalan
Senior, University of Michigan

David Catalan, a senior in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, has used his personal experience with mental illness on campus as a springboard for his work in making mental health awareness more pervasive at the University of Michigan.  This past year David formed a new mental health initiatives committee through the Health Issues Commission of the Central Student Government (CSG).  David and his colleagues have established partnerships with Counseling & Psychological Services, University Health Service, campus libraries, and the U-M Depression Center. As a result of these partnerships, mental health advocacy and prevention messages have been disseminated across campus. 

As just one example, David and the CSG mental health initiatives team assisted the University libraries in promoting a visit from Therapaws of Michigan, which visited the Undergraduate Library during exam week in 

December 2011. In addition, David and the mental health initiative team have helped to promote the Depression on College Campuses Conference to students, and are also working to institute a university-wide policy that would require all classroom syllabi to include a statement about health and disability, including mental health.  
Through the promotion of these events and initiatives, David is not only putting the words “therapy” and “depression” into the public realm and thus lessening their stigma, but the mental health initiative team is raising awareness among students of both traditional and alternative forms of prevention and treatment for mental illness.   

Along with his work with current students on campus, David has been working with the next cohort of college students to help them better understand mental illness.  David spent the summer of 2011 volunteering with the Washtenaw Community Support and Treatment Services (CSTS) where he helped facilitate the activity and interpersonal therapy groups with youth affected by mental illness.  

Nominated by: Katharine Zurek, University of Michigan Graduate, 2011

Patrick Hannah
Senior, Wayne State University
Major: Social Work

Patrick Hannah, senior BSW student, will enter the advanced MSW Program in The School of Social Work at Wayne State University next semester. As President of the Student Veterans’ Organization, Patrick recognized an urgent need for reorganization and innovation, as more veterans returned from deployment and enrolled at Wayne State. He conducted a needs assessment survey, demonstrating conclusively that the mental health needs of the university’s growing veteran population were not being met. With this data, he advocated for action by petitioning university faculty, staff, administration and directly contacting the WSU Board of Governors. This bold initiative led to the February, 2011 opening of a Veteran’s Resource Center.

Through the Veteran Resource Center, Patrick has provided leadership for the implementation of several programs that assist veterans in making the difficult transition from the military to the classroom, including the Peer Mentoring Program, Community Service Program, and the Vet2Vet/Battle Buddy Program. Patrick has also forged a strong alliance with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), recently creating a liaison position between CAPS and the Veterans’ Resource Center. As a direct result, CAPS has seen a marked increase in the number of Veterans seeking formal psychological counseling for depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

Patrick has raised awareness of mental health issues throughout the university by giving talks to faculty, staff, alumni, and student groups regarding the unique challenges facing student veterans. In January 2012, by appointment of the Provost, Patrick was commissioned to serve on a university wide committee on Veterans Affairs. Patrick’s vision and leadership in the area of mental health has truly transformed WSU into a blossoming safe haven for our student veterans and returning warriors. 

Nominated by Lynn Hill, LCSW, BCD, Director, Counseling and Psychological Services, Wayne State University

Catherine Kim
Senior, Cornell University
Major: Science of Earth Systems

Catherine Kim is a Science of Earth Systems major in Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  As the VP of Events for Cornell Minds Matter, Catherine advocates for reducing the stigma of mental illness by creating educational programs and raising awareness of mental health issues.

Catherine helped create and facilitate four “Dining with Diverse Leaders” dinner and discussion sessions, each bringing together 140 students, faculty and administrators to communicate and create action plans around a variety of mental health topics. Catherine created an Orientation Program for first year students called SOAP: Happiness through Social Connections, Optimism, Appreciation and Passion (now a standard feature of freshman orientation).  She also worked with Trustees and the Student Assembly to secure bi-line funding for Cornell Mind Matters, allowing CMM to now run 100 mental health programs each semester. 

Catherine sits on Cornell’s Council on Mental Health and Wellness with faculty and administrators setting university policy, representing the student voice. She spoke at City Council meetings and was quoted in newspapers advocating for means restrictions on our bridges. She runs outreach sessions on “How to Help a Friend in Distress” and contributed to Cornell’s Faculty Handbook on Responding to Students in Distress.

As a counselor and trainer in EARS (Empathy, Assistance and Referral Service), Catherine has put into action the mental health counseling skills she learned through more than 90 hours of training. She volunteers at the counseling center weekly, handling a wide range of student personal issues with respect and sensitivity. This past fall, Catherine was trained to teach counseling skills to more than 125 students.  She presents to the full group and trains a group of 20-25 students.  

Simply put, Catherine is an outstanding advocate for mental health on campus!

Nominated by Karen "Casey" Carr, Assistant Dean of Students, Advisor, Cornell Minds Matter

Mara Minasian
Junior, University of Michigan
Major: Psychology

Mara Minasian has greatly impressed me with her sincere dedication to cultivating mental health awareness at the University of Michigan. Most notably, she is leading an initiative to create a student support group on campus through the U-M Chapter of “To Write Love on Her Arms.”  Mara has received the support of several mental health professionals in the community who are eager to facilitate the SHARE Group (Students for Hope, Ambition, Recovery, and Encouragement).  Mara is currently advocating the SHARE Group as a resource that will provide a safe environment for students to seek out support for personal or interpersonal concerns of any nature.

Mara is also an active member of the Counseling and Psychological Services Student Advisory Board, collaborating with students and faculty to encourage mental health awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health services.  She is also the Student Chair of the Office of Student Conflict Resolution Advisory Board, reaching out to students to promote peace and justice on campus.

Additionally, Mara spent eight months as a research assistant for Dr. Cheryl King in the U-M Depression Center, doing research on the development of screening materials and interventions for adolescents at risk for suicide.  She is currently a lab manager within the Institute for Social Research’s Aggression Research Program, where she is doing research to facilitate earlier recognition of substance use disorders.  She was inspired to pursue this avenue of research after volunteering at Maplegrove Behavioral Center, a substance abuse treatment facility where she actively engaged in support groups for families and facilitated a camp for adolescents.

Mara clearly embodies the characteristics of a student mental health advocate, with her passion for mental health awareness and outreach continuing to foster a healthier campus community.  Mara is a most deserving candidate for this award, and I support her with my highest recommendation.

Nominated by: Ryan H. Bremner, Dr. des., Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan

Kristina Saffran
Freshman, Vanderbilt University
Major: Psychology

Kristina Saffran is a freshman studying Psychology at Vanderbilt University. Kristina serves both as the Freshman Liaison and the Events Co-Chair on her Active Minds chapter’s executive board, implementing campus-wide events such as National Day Without Stigma, “Fat-Talk-Free-Week”, and “Operation Beautiful Day” to address both stigma reduction and awareness about mental health in a larger societal context. Kristina is also spearheading a new initiative to start a Student Speaker Panel Series on Mental Illness for the further education of her campus community in regards to mental illnesses such as depression.

Much more significant than her activity with her Active Minds chapter is, however, the fact that in 2008, as a teenager who had just recovered from a serious eating disorder, Kristina founded Project HEAL: Help to Eat, Accept, and Live ( Project HEAL is a non-profit organization that raises money for individuals with eating disorders who are not able to afford the often prohibitive cost of treatment and works to diminish the societal obsession with body image. Kristina and her two co-founders regularly speak at high schools, hospitals, and on panels, sharing their stories to educate their peers on mental health and bring hope of recovery. 

Kristina is an articulate, highly driven, very young mental health advocate whose work with Project HEAL is noteworthy for its reach, the courage of its message, and the fact that surviving a significant mental health disorder led to such concrete and impressive advocacy. To date, Kristina and Project HEAL have raised $130,000, sending five applicants to treatment that they were unable to previously afford. Few adults, let alone individuals as young as Kristina, can boast such accomplishments – and particularly in the challenging sector of raising funds for mental health. 

As she grows older, I am certain that Kristina will go on to further change society and give many more young people the opportunity for treatment. However, I am nominating her for the Student Mental Health Advocate Award now, because I firmly believe that her efforts to date deserve note and praise.

Nominated by: Sonya Weisburd, MSW, Chapter Coordinator, Active Minds

Emily Cepla
Senior, University of Michigan
Major: Psychology, Minor: Spanish Language

Emily Cepla is a senior at the University of Michigan, and has been advocating for student mental health awareness and support for the past two years. As one example, she successfully lobbied various university departments to obtain funding to put mental health resource packets in freshman orientation folders. Because of Emily, freshmen were able to find the help they needed with little trouble. Emily also organized the University of Michigan’s first annual Mental Health Awareness Day, where she brought together numerous university departments and student organizations on the main campus Diag to promote mental health awareness. Many students were not only able to find out where to get help, but were also able to gain new and valuable information about mental illness. As President of the student organization Finding Voice, Emily has worked tirelessly to show that students living with mental illness are no different than other students on campus. She is currently working to form panels of students with mental illnesses to speak to classrooms and residence halls about living with mental health disorders. 

Emily has participated in many focus groups for the new University of Michigan Campus Mind Works website, and provided the site developers with advice for their “Student Voices” page. She has also volunteered to speak with high school students about her personal experience with depression as part of an educational collaboration between the Depression Center and the Ann Arbor Public Schools. In addition, Emily has been a member of the Depression on College Campuses Conference planning committee for the past two years, and has successfully increased awareness of the conference among U-M students and encouraged their attendance. Promoting mental health awareness is Emily’s passion, and I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award.

Nominated by: Hanah Knopf, Student, University of Michigan

Rebecca (Becky) Gordon
Senior, Boston University
Major: Philosophy, Minor: Political Science

When we read of the Student Mental Health Advocate award, we immediately thought of Ms. Rebecca (Becky) Gordon. Becky is a highly respected advocate at Boston University for her work in raising awareness of the mental health issues on campus, for her tireless efforts in reaching out to students and encouraging them to seek help if they are distressed, and for her self-disclosure of her own struggle with depression as a tool to promote hope that others can be helped on campus.  

Becky is the Boston University Active Minds President, and after attending the national Active Minds conference she decided to bring the “Post Secret” project to BU. This is a huge undertaking which will potentially reach 29,000 students by encouraging them to anonymously write their secrets on postcards, and will provide a powerful visual story of student mental health issues as well as where to seek help on the BU campus. The project is scheduled to go forward this spring on a much larger scale than ever attempted before on a college campus.

Becky’s other projects include organizing a bake sale to raise funds for on-campus mental health projects, and participating in National Depression Screening Day. In addition, Becky has been central in Boston University’s recent campus suicide prevention grant efforts and will take a leadership role in developing a student support network. Becky also volunteered to be the face and voice of depression on a new BU website that highlights student issues and available resources. Her willingness to be “out” with her struggles is courageous and empowering.

Becky Gordon is a role model for students who live with mental health issues on campuses. Through her leadership, outreach, and advocacy, she is changing student lives at Boston University. We are proud to nominate her for this award.

Nominated by: Margaret S. Ross, M.D., Director, Behavioral Medicine, Student Health Services, Boston University; Dori S. Hutchinson, Sc.D., Director of Services, Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Boston University

Mike Finn
Senior, University of Michigan
Majors: Honors Psychology and Spanish Language & Literature

Mike Finn has been a member of the student organization Finding Voice, a campus mental health advocacy
group, for more than three years. During this time, Mike guided the organization through a difficult period of
transition, and provided leadership which allowed the group to continue and flourish. Thanks to Mike’s tireless
efforts, Finding Voice has become a valuable resource for countless students who feel they have nowhere else to turn. The mental health literature and resource lists compiled by Finding Voice have been used not only
by University of Michigan students, but also by students from other universities throughout the country. Mike
has been involved with numerous events hosted by Finding Voice, from large-scale art exhibits to Mental Health Awareness Days. He has also formed positive working relationships with many different mental health advocacy groups on campus, as well as with Counseling and Psychological Services, the Department of Psychology, and the Depression Center.

In addition, Mike has been a member of the Depression on College Campuses Conference planning committee for three years, as well as a speaker for the 2007 conference. Through Mike’s innovative outreach and promotion efforts, the conference has attracted more U-M students each year, and has succeeded in involving various student groups which might not otherwise have participated.

In closing, a testimonial from a Finding Voice member who nominated Mike for this award illustrates his passion for and commitment to mental health advocacy: “Mike Finn has done more to spread awareness and advocate for mental health than anyone I have met at the University of Michigan. When I joined Finding Voice, I was a lonely, lost second semester sophomore with nowhere to go. From day one, Mike opened his arms to me and showed me that there was a place on campus for students with mental illness. Now, because of Mike’s unconditional support, I am a second semester junior with the whole world in front of me. I attribute much of my success over my disease to Mike Finn, and nominate him for this award whole-heartedly.”

Nominated by: Emily Cepla, Student, University of Michigan; Chris Yun, Student, University of Michigan

Simon Holoubek
Senior, The University of Iowa
Majors: Psychology and Pre-Medicine

Simon Holoubek is an honors student at the University of Iowa. During his four years of undergraduate studies, Simon has conducted research on the ventromedial prefrontal cortex of the brain; participated as a leader on several student government committees; volunteered as a tutor on campus; and served as a member of the Student Health Advisory Committee.

Through his work with the Student Health Advisory Committee, Simon has proven himself to be a passionate
advocate for improvement of student mental health on campus, and in particular, to improving access to mental health services and removing barriers to treatment. While there are many talented students at the University of Iowa working as mental health advocates, Simon stands out by putting his advocacy into meaningful action.

The fruits of this action can be seen throughout the University of Iowa’s campus community in the form of
the Free Mental Health Clinic, which was co-founded by Simon in 2005 during his freshman year. The Clinic
provides volunteer psychiatric services to approximately twenty people per month – consisting primarily of
former students, undocumented workers, and abuse victims who don’t have the financial resources to be served elsewhere, or who are waiting for access to care in a more permanent setting. The direct care is provided by a volunteer psychiatrist assisted by medical students in various stages of training. The clinic also serves an advocacy role for its patients. Simon has served as a coordinator of the clinic since its inception, where his duties have included recruiting and overseeing undergraduate shadows, staff, and translators.
Simon is a talented, energetic, and intelligent student who is passionate about mental health issues, and has
acted upon this passion to serve those in need.

Nominated by: David Braun, MD, Director, University of Iowa Student Health Service

Emily Parsons
Senior, Central Michigan University
Major: Art Education, Minor: Speech Education

Emily is the founder and president of the recently established Central Michigan University chapter of Active Minds. After attending the annual Active Minds conference in Washington, D.C. in October 2007, Emily founded the CMU chapter in November. Since that time, Emily has already planned and implemented several successful programs to help decrease the stigma of mental illness on her campus. Through Emily’s efforts, which include creating a collaborative relationship with the student government and Counseling Center, the CMU chapter of Active Minds has been very successful in bringing valuable information to students across campus.

In addition to organizing biweekly Active Minds meetings, Emily has developed several special events to raise awareness and decrease stigma. In January, Emily organized the weeklong “Beat the Blues” program which was designed to get students out of their residences and provide a reprieve from their studies and the weather. 

The week included many different events for students, such as free hot chocolate, a t-shirt tie-dying stand, a movie screening of “About a Boy,” and a musical performance at a local coffee shop. All events were aimed at raising awareness about campus depression, and materials from local mental health resources were distributed. In addition, two educational events were also scheduled - a "Check Up from the Neck Up" depression screening, and a panel discussion about depression among college students. 

Emily is also planning a “Stomp Out Stigma” 5k run for April 6th, 2008. The run will help bring attention to mental health issues by including statistics on the back of every runner's shirt. In addition, former Detroit Lions quarterback Eric Hipple will speak about the importance of suicide prevention, related to his personal experience of losing his son to suicide in 2000.

In the short time since she founded this chapter of Active Minds, Emily has demonstrated great leadership, organizational skills, and a passion for advocacy. Her efforts have made great strides to reduce the stigma of mental illness among her peers at Central Michigan University.

Nominated by: Gary Silker, Ed.D., LPC, NCC, Active Minds Advisor, Counselor, Counseling Center, Central Michigan University; Ross Rapaport, Ph.D., LPC, NCC, Director, Counseling Center, Central Michigan University; 
Becca Frazee, Chapters Coordinator, Active Minds, Inc.; Brian and Mary Jo Parsons

Lindsay Orchowski
Ohio University
Major: Clinical Psychology

Lindsay has shown great enthusiasm and leadership in initiating and advocating mental health services and emotional wellbeing at Ohio University campus. She started her graduate program in clinical psychology at OU in 2003 and right from the start she took great deal of interest in participating in mental health programs. In her first year at OU she joined the Sexual Assault Prevention group run by the counseling center as a co-facilitator and over the past three years has greatly contributed in sustaining and expanding this program. In her second year, as a trainee at the counseling center, she began to talk about the idea of ‘Counselors-In-Residence’ (CR) program which involved placing student counselors in residence halls. To this end, she wrote an excellent proposal based on sound research and ethical practice which was readily accepted by both Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) and the Department of Residence Life (RL). She spearheaded this program in its first year, establishing a collaborative effort between CPS and RL. This program provides on-site and easily accessible consultation and mental health support services to student residents and RL staff. During the first year, Lindsay handled over 60 in-person consultations at her office in the RL, made five ‘house calls’ (related to crisis) and numerous phone and email consultations. She was frequently sought by Resident Directors (RDs) and Assistants (RAs) concerning their residents. Her presence in residence halls helped to reduce the stigma of depressive illness as she met with the students in their familiar milieu and guided them to appropriate services. Her enthusiasm in preventive work was evident in organizing mental health programming with RDs and RAs. She presented about 25 workshops during the first year of this program in various residence halls on topics such as how to deal with SAD, body image issues, anxiety and stress reduction, and organized depression screenings. An underlying theme in all her presentations was to destigmatize mental health problems and create an awareness of resources. The RL staff highly valued her work in the first year of the program (2005-06) and eagerly supported two counselors-in-residence for the following year (2006-07). I had the wonderful opportunity to supervise Lindsay from the inception of this program and I continue to be amazed by her ability, enthusiasm, and her willingness to commit time and energy to this program despite her regular graduate work (practica, research and TAship, and course work). She has made a lasting impact on this campus not only with the CR program but also her involvement in sexual assault research.  Her enthusiasm and commitment to mental health issues of university students make her a strong candidate for the Student Mental Health Advocate Award.  

Nominated by:  Paul Castelino, Ph.D., Coordinator of Postdoctoral Fellowship and Counselors-In-Residence Programs, Counseling and Psychological Services Ohio University, Athens, Ohio