Bringing Change to the School

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), “anxiety is the top presenting concern among college students (41.6 percent), followed by depression (36.4 percent) and relationship problems (35.8 percent).” These numbers are on the rise, and schools across the country are working to to a better job supporting students struggling with mental health issues.
Bring Change 2 Mind (BC2M) is a club working to destigmatize mental illness at the school. BC2M is a national organization, with branches in over 250 schools in the U.S. The organization provides educational materials, event and activity curricula, and events near member schools. BC2M’s six guiding principles and beliefs are: Start the Conversation, Amplify Voices, Be an Ally, Empower the Future, Support Science, and Fight for Human Rights.
Many students struggle to open up about mental health. BC2M club Head Laura Hart ’20 said, “Many people are afraid to talk about mental health or seek help if they are struggling or know someone who is struggling, because it is seen as socially [un]acceptable. Many people think that mental health issues are not real issues or are not important.”
BC2M’s primary goal is to educate about mental health and normalize conversations about mental illness. Club head Ella Welch ’20 said, “There is a misconception that BC2M [provides] people with mental health help, like counselors, while [the club] actually [works] to raise awareness [of] different resources and educate people on various mental health issues.”
Last May, BC2M and the Council on Diversity and Inclusion worked together on a variety of initiatives during Mental Health Awareness Month. The council created a video featuring the Health Center counseling staff, which was shown in Auditorium, invited community members to paint the green Mental Health Awareness Month ribbon in Main Hallway, designed a relaxation room on the second floor of Main Building, and set up a bulletin board where students and faculty could post notes about what mental health means to them.
BC2M also helped organize a Community Conversation, hosted by Dr. Rachel Myers, director of diversity and inclusion, about mental health, sharing and answering anonymous stories and questions on the topic.
As the year progresses, BC2M will continue to discuss how to identify causes of mental health issues, academic pressure, stress, competition between peers, and being away from home, which are factors that are specific to the school. Hart says, “I dedicate time to this club because I think that mental health is extremely important and a topic that is not talked about or valued enough at Hotchkiss. I think that a lot of people at Hotchkiss struggle – especially since it is such a stressful environment – but don’t know how to get help or even what they are struggling with.”
All students are welcome to attend BC2M’s open meetings and learn about mental health issues that could be affecting students at the school.