The George Orley Student Mental Health Advocate Award recognizes college students for outstanding leadership and commitment to campus mental health. 

Student advocates create healthier campus communities throughout the U.S. by raising awareness about mental health conditions, the need for outreach programs and services, and the importance of eliminating the stigma surrounding these conditions. Each year, we recognize these exceptional individuals for their passion and commitment to improving the lives of their fellow college students. The award is presented to honorees at the Depression on College Campuses conference luncheon in the spring. 

This award is named in honor of the memory of George Orley, who sadly lost his battle with depression in 2013, just prior to his junior year at the University of Michigan. It’s made possible through the generous support of his parents, Randy and Diane Orley of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, along with his siblings, Amanda and Sam.

Award criteria

The Orley Award is open to college students at any level or learning institution. Awardees help to create a healthier campus community that fosters student success in one or more of the following ways:

  • Raising awareness of mental health issues on campus through education and outreach
  • 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 Orley Award has closed. Recipients will be announced at the Depression on College Campuses conference luncheon on March 13. 

2023 Recipients

Meghna Singh

Image of Meghna Singh with her award

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 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.

In addition to her involvement in mental health research on campus, she serves as the walk chair for the 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.”