Mental Health Alliance Seeks New Members

Story by Audri Chenoweth

Graphic by Riley Connell

As the only returning member of the e-board, Mental Health Alliance President Paige Zundel works to expand the presence of her group on campus.

Through the process of canvassing social work classes during the ’21 spring semester, the group gained three e-board members two of which are completely new to the group as of this semester. The group is still pushing to get its name out to Central Michigan University students to grow the mental health community.

As the community grows, the opportunity to provide a safe space for
students to learn and discuss mental health experiences increases while the stigma around it diminishes.

The time away from campus last year dealt the group a setback regarding membership as previous members graduated and few joined. The group is still looking for students excited about spreading support opportunities and information about mental health to fill their last few open positions on e-board.

“I think that mental health is such an important area for everyone to kind of focus on regardless of if they struggle with it or not, and me personally, you know, with my own struggles in life I found that [the Mental Health Alliance] was basically what I needed,” said Social Chair Jacqueline Finch.

MHA has the ability to provide support to students who may not be interested in further resources beyond a safe space to discuss and discover. Through hosting meetings and events, the RSO provides students with a support system of fellow students.

“The number one thing I want to do is help people, also including helping myself,” Finch said. “I figured learning more about mental health and working with other people that kind of have the same perspective is everything that I needed.”

Bi-weekly in-person meetings kick off at 7 p.m. on Sept. 29, in Anspach 150. Topics for the first weeks are scheduled to include anxiety and fear as well as providing the parallel resources and coping mechanisms.

As students are coming back to Mount Pleasant and finding a new normal on campus, Finch notices how difficult it is for students to make friends and reach out to professors as well as other

“People don’t really know how to interact like they use to,” Finch said. “It definitely has kind of created a barrier for a lot of students.”

This year a new goal for the RSO is to break down the social barriers that isolation has put between people. The Mental Health Alliance strives to help students feel comfortable being open about their own experiences with mental health and how Covid-19 has impacted them.

“We’re going to be talking about some heavier subjects later as this semester goes and being open about those makes a big difference for sure in our personal lives,” Vice President Dallas Mora said.

Allowing students safe spaces to grow as individuals and help others by simply listening improves the student community and its ability to have discussions about mental health and the impact it has.

“It just kind of opens your eyes to other people’s points of view,” Mora said. “I would just love to know everyone else’s story and what brought them to where they’re at, why they want to be a part of the Mental Health Alliance. I feel like it’s a pretty serious and heavy subject to talk about
at some point and so to step up and put yourself out there to join this RSO is a big step.”