The First Annual Student Mental Health Advocate Award
To recognize outstanding student leadership in the area of campus mental health, the University of Michigan initiated the Student Mental Health Advocate Award. The undergraduate and graduate students who were nominated from across the country have all made a significant impact on their campus communities in raising awareness of mental health issues, advocating for mental health services on campus, and helping to reduce the stigma of depressive illnesses.
Major: Clinical Psychology
University: Ohio University, Athens, OH
Lindsay began her graduate program in clinical psychology at Ohio University in 2003. 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 to sustaining and expanding this program.
In her second year, as a trainee at the counseling center, she began to develop the idea of a ‘Counselors-In-Residence’ (CR) program which involved placing student counselors in residence halls. To this end, she wrote a proposal based on sound research and ethical practice, which was 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, made five ‘house calls’ (related to crisis) and numerous phone and email consultations. Her presence in residence halls helped to reduce the stigma of depressive illness as she met with the students in their familiar environment and guided them to appropriate services.
In addition, Lindsay organized mental health programming with the Resident Directors (RDs) and Assistants (RAs), presenting over 25 workshops in the first year on topics such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), body image issues, anxiety and stress reduction, and organized depression screenings. An underlying goal throughout each presentation was to destigmatize mental health issues and create an awareness of resources.
Overall, Lindsay has made a lasting impact on the Ohio University campus not only with the CR program, but also her involvement in sexual assault research. Lindsay has shown great enthusiasm and leadership in initiating and advocating for mental health services and emotional wellbeing at the Ohio University campus.
Paul Castelino, Ph.D.
Coordinator of Postdoctoral Fellowship and Counselors-In-Residence Programs
Counseling and Psychological Services
Ohio University, Athens, Ohio