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CONNECTIONS the MAGAZINE

of AFLV

THE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE

If you need help now: Please call your local authorities (911), contact a mental health professional, or call and talk to someone at 1-800-SUICIDE.

VOL. 3 / ISSUE 012 / FALL 2010


Student Life is Real.

Why do the answers seem plastic?

When the rest of the world seems plastic & creepy, AFLV has a dose of real questions that make sense.

the Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values are you ready to ask good questions?

AFLV 2011 Events & Programs

International Service Immersion / El Salvador, January 2011 AFLV Central & NBGLC / St. Louis, MO February 10-13, 2011 AFLV West & NCGLC / Costa Mesa, CA April 7-10, 2011 The Gathering / Mohican Lodge, Ohio June 5-8, 2011 National House Director Conference / Providence, RI June 2011


the inside starts here FEATURES 006 / mental health // colleen coffey 010 / mental health issues in college // andrea cooper 016 / deal or no deal // ruth goodman 036 / taking action: worcester polytechnic institute

COLUMNS 002 // letter from the executive director 002 // letter from the editor 018 // facilitation 411 020 // ask the experts 024 // from the road 028 // busted! 032 // one more thing

Connections is the official publication of the Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values. The views expressed by contributors, authors and advertisers are not necessarily those of the Association. AFLV encourages the submission of content to: Lea Hanson Director of Publications connections@aflv.org Submit advertising queries to: Mark Koepsell Executive Director mark@aflv.org 970/372.1174 888/855.8670 info@aflv.org

Connections is published four times each year. Submission Deadlines: Winter 2011: Social Media, December 1 Send address corrections to: Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values 420 South Howes Bldg B; Suite 200 Fort Collins, CO 80524 970/372.1174 888/855.8670 info@aflv.org Â

Layout & Design Steve Whitby / Warehouse 242 swhitby@mac.com  Editorial Board Andrea Battaglia / Drury University Ryan Hilperts / AFLV Andrew Hohn / University of Illinois, Urbana-Chapaign Carol Preston / Wittenberg University Teniell Trolian / Kent State University Viancca Williams / University of South Florida

Member / Fraternity Communications Association

AFLV // 001


This issue of Connections is all but wrapped up and ready to go to print… sadly, recent news events hit so close to the content of this issue that the timing is more than a little scary.   Tyler Clementi, the freshman at Rutgers University, is just one example of young people being pushed to the brink of all they could take – and in the end made the desperate and sad decision to end their life. Mental Health issues are all around us.  There are numerous research articles indicating that Generation Y has been ravaged by mental health issues.  Some say it is an indicator that those within Gen Y are more willing to discuss it, others that there is a simple increase in education around the issue and so more individuals are diagnosed. Whatever the case, it is an important issue.  It doesn’t matter if you are a chapter officer, an advisor, or a roommate.  Greater knowledge and understanding around this important issue can actually save a life. Related to all of this, MTV recently teamed up with the Jed Foundation and started a campaign entitled Love is Louder.  The focus of the campaign is to remind individuals that Love is Louder than any voice that causes pain or brings you down.  There’s always help.  There’s always hope.  It’s a movement for anyone who feels mistreated, misunderstood or alone.  They have a Facebook fan page and a website (www.loveislouder.com) to help send that important message of hope.  I encourage you to check it out and to think about how we can get this message out to our members who may secretly or openly be carrying a burden that seems insurmountable. Admittedly, the subject of Mental Health is not sexy.  It may not be the most exciting topic to read about.  But it IS important.  For what is more important than the lives of our brothers, sisters, and all mankind?

Executive Director Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values

When I was recently visiting my parents in my small town home in Minnesota, I read in the paper that the community was changing the name of its annual “Crazy Days.” Crazy Days is a community wide retail sale blowout: the stores in the mall have clearance sales, the stores downtown have sidewalk sales, and local vendors set up tents in the park to sell their wares. It’s kind of a big deal. I asked my mom why they were changing the name and she told me it was because the term ‘crazy’ can be offensive to people who suffer from mental illness. I have to admit, my first reaction was “that’s silly, it’s just a word…“ But, after a self-check and reflection, I realized how obviously offensive that simple word may be and was disappointed in myself for even having to ask what was wrong with it. I mean, I am usually the one correcting people who inappropriately use the words ‘gay’ and ‘retarded’ and recently reprimanded an acquaintance for using the word ‘slut’. How did I not catch this? Well, the reality is, it’s a learning curve for everyone. Although we are getting better at talking about it, the issue of mental health is still a bit of a taboo subject and one that many people still don’t know much about. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in four adults – approximately 57.7 million Americans – experience a mental health disorder in any given year. This is WAY more than the number of people who die from a heart attack each year (approximately 250,000) and about 50 times the number of women who are victims of domestic violence in any given year (1.3 million). Let me be clear: I do not mean to minimize heart health, domestic violence, or any other cause that fraternities and sororities support. But, I think the numbers speak for themselves: mental health is an important issue that simply does not get the attention it needs. We have devoted this entire issue to mental health. Included are articles that discuss some diseases specifically, and other resources that will help you, your chapter, and/or your council develop events and programs to better serve the needs of your community. My hope is that you’ll learn from this issue and think of a concrete way to share that knowledge with others in a beneficial way. Maybe you can make a week of it – just don’t call it Crazy Days.

Editor Connections Magazine 002 // connections // 2010 • fall

Letter from the Editor

Letter from the Executive Director

C


CONTRIBUTORS COLLEEN COFFEY

RUTH GOODMAN

ANDREA COOPER

Colleen Coffey

Phired Up Productions / CAMPUSPEAK / Active Minds • colleen@activeminds.org Unless you don’t get out much, when you think of mental health awareness you probably think of Colleen Coffey. Colleen’s list of experiences as a speaker and educator in these areas is lengthy. Whether you’ve seen her at a conference, read an article she’s wrote, or invited her to your campus to speak, we all know that Colleen is one of the main go-to people when it comes to this topic. So, naturally, we were thrilled when she agreed to contribute to Connections. This article is a scholarly and interesting piece that will give you the stats and, more importantly, give you tangible ways to make change on your campus. And that’s the stuff we like – tangible ways to make change.

Ruth Goodman

Professional Writer / Editor • ruthgoodman@me.com We know we’re legit when Ruth Goodman agrees to contribute a story to our magazine. Ruth is an award winning freelance writer, editor, and proofreader and is also the Editor for Alpha Xi Delta’s magazine, The Quill. If you want to do more about promoting mental health awareness on your campus, you MUST read this article. Ruth has put together an excellent story that will give you an overview of some of the best programs we could find that are happening in our fraternity and sorority communities today. This article will open your eyes and spark your creativity; it will help you realize that promoting a once taboo subject can be easy and very well received on your campus.

Andrea Cooper

Professional Speaker / Educator • Afc3dmik@mindspring.com If anyone knows the pain that unaddressed mental health issues can cause, it’s Andrea Cooper. Andrea gives us a great overview of mental health issues and ties it all together by sharing the heartbreaking story of the death of her daughter. As a seasoned speaker and educator, Andrea is known as being one of the best people to address the importance of mental wellness; she has spoken at national and regional conferences and an endless number of campuses across the nation. We thank Andrea for sharing her personal story so bravely but also using her tragic experience to help others learn and avoid a comparable tragedy.

AFLV // 003


BREAK

THROUGH TH E

(AND CLEAN UP YOUR CAMPUS

CLUTTER

IMAGE)

WITH

DR. TAIT MARTIN

DR. TAIT MARTIN KEYNOTES for:

• Getting the right exposure with effective marketing & PR • The opportunities (and nightmares) of social media marketing • Creating solutions to keep members in your organization

Public relations and marketing ace DR. TAIT MARTIN helps student organizations separate themselves from the clutter of campus messages through his humorous and insightful workshops. College groups will learn how to clean up their images, shape positive brands and immediately create an impact in their campus community.

For more information about Tait, contact CAMPUSPEAK at (303) 745-5545, e-mail us at info@campuspeak.com or visit us on the web at www.campuspeak.com.


R

El Salvador, San Salvador | January 2011 ANNOUNCING New Orleans, Louisiana | May 2011

Service Immersion Experiences contributing to a global community

www.aflv.org/EventsPrograms/ImmersionTrips


? d r n e a att t i s m i t t i a h W y does wh 006 // connections // 2010 • fall


?

I am Colleen Coffey. I am the chair of the Research and Assessment Board at Phired Up Productions. I am an independent consultant for non-profit organizations in the state of Tennessee, and I have been a chapter adviser for Alpha Sigma Tau Sorority at Belmont University since 2003. I am a mother to a little dog named Ruby, a Pilates instructor, a homeowner, a fiancĂŠ, a daughter, a friend, and a sister. I also speak for CAMPUSPEAK and Active Minds on mental health. I speak about mental health because I have a story to share. My story is not one that is sensational or really out of the ordinary, but it is a story of struggle and survival. When I was a child I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and did not really learn to deal with that until I was 24 years old. Throughout my life, I would cope with feelings that I did not understand by fighting, controlling food and exercise, and running away. While I found a lot of solace from time to time in friends, family, and my sorority, I knew that I would never truly get well until I sought the help that I needed.

AFLV // 007


Mental Health: What is it and why does it matter? What I went through is not uncommon. An estimated 20-25 percent of young people will suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. Nearly two-thirds of all people with diagnosable mental disorders do not seek treatment (Kessler, Nelson, McKinagle, Edlund, Frank, & Leaf, 1996; Regier, Narrow, Rae, Manderscheid, Locke, & Goodwin, 1993). While 80-90 percent of individuals with even the most severe mental disorders see a vast improvement in their symptoms once they seek treatment (Mental Health, A Report of the Surgeon General, 1999), stigma surrounding the receipt of mental health treatment is among the most significant barriers that discourage people from seeking treatment (Cooper-Patrick, Powe, Jenckes, Gonzales, Levine, & Ford, 1997; Coffey, 2010). You do not have to have a diagnosed disorder to be concerned with mental health issues. Our mental health is affected by stress, lack of sleep, lack of life balance, death, divorce, break-ups, etc. Every single one of us will deal with an emotional issue at some point in our lives. The mental and emotional wellness of all individuals is critical to personal and professional success. Mental health issues are prevalent, treatment is working, and people are not seeking help because of stigma. Stigma is a word that we explore a lot in the mental health field. Stigma is a mark or token of infamy, disgrace, or reproach. The stigma associated with mental health issues is marked in words and phrases like: crazy, unbalanced, strange, weak, straight-jacket, not right with God, drugs, talking to yourself, homeless, retarded, stupid, just need attention, weird, etc. Due to those stereotypes, those who need help may not seek it because they would be ashamed to be associated with such words or phrases. The truth is that most people with mental health issues lead completely typical lives. Mental health issues do not discriminate- they affect people of all races, sexual orientations, faiths, and socioeconomic statuses. They are your professors, family members, colleagues, and brothers or sisters. Did you know? > ¼ of students at your school, in your chapter, or in your organizations will suffer from a diagnosed mental health disorder this year > All of us will struggle at some point with something that impacts our mental health > Most of us will not seek help because of stigma even though TREATMENT IS WORKING What are we doing in the fraternal movement? The good news is that fraternity and sorority professionals are starting to talk about these issues. There is a growing body of research that suggests that many mental health education programs reduce stigma (Wood & Wahl, 2007; Goldney & Fisher, 2008). According to Corrigan and Penn (1999), stigma reduction is most effective when participants have one-on-one contact with an individual who suffers with, and is surviving with, a mental illness. A handful of campuses, organizations, and agencies have been documented as responding to mental health among this specific population. For instance, The University of Arizona trains Fraternity/ Sorority students to provide support and advocacy to their peers regarding health issues (Essentials, February 2009). Kristin’s Story, LLC is the plight of one mother who lost her daughter to suicide. Kristin was actively involved in her sorority, and her mother, Andrea Cooper, travels the country telling Kristin’s story to students. She writes:

in terms of embracing the implementation of multifaceted programming. They also learned that even though this program was different from what students were normally used to, it was generally well received. Kappa Alpha Theta is doing significant work through their new Sisters Supporting Sisters initiative (Harootyan, 2010), and many organizations have used Outside the Classroom’s Mental Health EDU (n.d.) program in recent years. When I think about the purpose of Greek life, I often find myself wondering, “why does this matter?” I mean, at the end of the day, fraternity and sorority life is important. Being a member is a lot of fun and we do a lot for our campus and local communities. I especially enjoy the mentorship I get as a young alumna from more established women in my organization. These things are cool and should not be discounted, but really- could I not find this purpose elsewhere? What is it that makes fraternal membership different than anything else? The obvious answer for me is that I am able to subscribe to a common set of values that are shared by every other Alpha Sigma Tau in the country but the other answer is BELONGING. Recent research by Joiner (2005), and earlier research by Baumeister and Leary (1995), documented the need to belong as a fundamental component of mental health. In fact, these scholars contend that a lack of belonging puts individuals at a greater risk for suicide. Mental health concerns have reached endemic proportions for University students. Furr, Westefeld, McConnell, and Jenkins (2001), through a multi- institutional study, revealed that 50 percent of college students experience depression. The 2006 National College Health Assessment supported these findings, indicating that 42 percent of college students feel so depressed at times that it is difficult to function. That same study showed nine percent of students reported seriously considering suicide during the previous 12 months. I would argue that the sense of belonging that comes from Greek membership is like nothing else in the world. Belonging to one of these groups, in turn, has the potential to strongly positively impact the mental health of its members. Further, both the recruitment and new member processes have been studied and shown to significantly positively affect selfesteem (Brand & Dodd, 1998; Hirt & Spruill, 2008). I am writing a dissertation and, in that process, have evaluated the speech that I often give to fraternity and sorority students. I have found that the difference between the fraternity and sorority population and non-members is the existing support system and sense of belonging that fraternity can and should provide to its members. So often in the fraternal movement we focus on the esoteric nature of organizations as a valuable asset to college students. While member organizations can and should provide a sense of pride in the wake of all that secrecy, there is greater value in the friendship that exists beyond the privacy and ritualism. Students want to interact with their peers, they are open to hearing about these issues, and prefer to do so in an environment that is small, safe, and open. What can you do? I want you to take the information in this article and actually apply it. Szabo and Hall (2007) co-wrote a book called Behind Happy Faces. The following list is adapted from the suggestions for how to help a friend in his book: Self-disclose. Do this in moderation and only when appropriate. It is okay to share that you have also struggled, and it will help your struggling members connect and not feel so alone.

Fraternity and sorority professionals should learn to spot signs of depression, possible suicidal tendencies, and substance abuse in their students. However, because fraternity and sorority professionals do not know all students on a close, personal level, it is also important to empower other students to help their brothers and sisters (para.10).

Approach in a Familiar Way. Think about how you used to enjoy spending time together. Did you watch TV? Shoot hoops? Choose a situation that will feel natural and will put them at ease. If you’re worried about a friend you have known for a long time, then simply doing something you used to do together is a good option. Maybe you always went for coffee, to the gym, or did something healthy together to relieve your stress. One of these situations would provide a good setting for you to have the conversation.

Wall, Hazen, Trockel, and Markwell (2008), evaluated a multi-faceted substance abuse prevention program for sororities. They found the traditional model of a one-hour-one-time event is a mitigating factor

Do not judge. Your friend may be defensive because he thinks you’re judging him. You can quickly change this by reminding him you want to be a real friend. You care about him. You’re not there to argue; you’re

008 // connections // 2010 • fall


there to help. You miss him, and you want to be there for him. Talk Face-to-Face. Instant messaging or texting is an essential part of life. It’s a fast, easy way to communicate. You can talk about anything—even the tough stuff. It’s essentially “non-confrontational confrontation.” It’s often more comfortable than actually talking to the person face-to-face, especially if you’re mad. Avoidance only takes a “click.” But if you are using instant messaging or texting in order to address emotional problems with your friend, they can choose not to reply. If you post on their profile, they don’t have to publish it. Talk to your friend face-to-face. You’ll have a much better chance of resolving issues or at least getting them to open up. Host educational programming. We know that education about these issues is important, consider hosting a speaker, working with the counseling center on campus, or using other educational programs for your members about mental health. Contact your national headquarters. Make sure you know your national policies, practices, and rights surrounding these issues. Start or join Active Minds. Active Minds is the only organization working to utilize the student voice to change the conversation about mental health on college campuses. By developing and supporting chapters of a student-run mental health awareness, education, and advocacy group on campuses, the organization works to increase students’ awareness of mental health issues, provide information and resources regarding mental health and mental illness, encourage students to seek help as soon as it is needed, and serve as liaison between students and the mental health community. Through campus-wide events and national programs, Active Minds aims to remove the stigma that surrounds mental health issues and create a comfortable environment for an open conversation about mental health issues on campuses throughout North America. Start or join a local group of To Write Love on Her Arms: To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.  TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery. Take care of yourself and know that you are not a therapist! You can educate, collaborate, and confront stigma and so many things all on your own to make a difference! When you suspect something is happening to a friend or family member your role is to speak up and get them to the help that they need as soon as they need it.

References American College Health Association - National college health assessment (2007). Reference Group Executive Summary Fall, 2006. Baltimore: American College Health Association. American Psychiatric Association (2005). Survey shows mental illness stigmas are receding, but misconceptions remain. Retrieved November 10, 2008 from: http://www.sane.org/. Baumeister, R. & Leary M. (1995). The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 117, 497. Coffey, C. (2010). The impact of mental health education on fraternity and sorority members. (Doctoral dissertation). Trevecca Nazarene University, Nashville, TN. Coffey, C. (2009). What is means to belong: Why Greek membership matters. Phired Up Productions Blog. Retrieved September 14, 2010 from http://www.phiredup.com/index.php?paged=12 &Itemid=2&option=com_wordpress. Cooper, A. (2009, April). Helping fraternity and sorority members with mental health issues that lead to substance abuse. Essentials: An online publication of the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors. Cooper-Patrick, L., Powe, N. R., Jenckes, M. W., Gonzales, J. J., Levine, D. M., & Ford, D. E. (1997). Identification of patient attitudes and preferences regarding treatment of depression. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 12, 431–438. Corrigan, P. W. & Penn, D. L. (1999). Lessons from social psychology on discrediting psychiatric stigma. American Psychologist, 54, 765–776. Furr, R. S., Westefeld, S. J., McConnell, N. G., & Jenkins, M. J. (2001). Suicide and depression among college students: A decade later. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 32, 97-100. Goldney, R. &Fisher, L. (2008). Have broad-based community and professional education programs influenced mental health literacy and treatment seeking of those with major depression and suicidal ideation? Suicide & Life Threatening Behavior, 38(2). 129. Harootyan, E. H. (2010, August 2). Kappa Alpha Theta announces Sisters Supporting Sisters – A mental health inititated including a partnership with Talk One-2-One. Press Release. Retrieved September 6, 2010 from https://www.kappaalphatheta.org/common/filezone/open_document.cfm?pageId=sisterssupportingsisterspressrelease. Kessler, R. C., Nelson, C. B., McKinagle, K. A., Edlund, M. J., Frank, R. G., & Leaf, P. J. (1996). The epidemiology of co-occurring addictive and mental disorders: Implications for prevention and service utilization. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 66, 17–31. MentalHealthEdu. (n.d.). A community approach to assisting students in distress. Retrieved September 6, 2010 from http://www.outsidetheclassroom.com/solutions/higher-education/ mentalhealthedu.aspx. Regier, D. A., Narrow, W. E., Rae, D. S., Manderscheid, R. W., Locke, B. Z., & Goodwin, F. K. (1993). The de facto U.S. mental and addictive disorders service system. Epidemiologic attachment area prospective 1-year prevalence rates of disorders and services. Archives of General Psychiatry, 50, 85–94. Sathcer, D. (1999). Mental Health: A report of the Surgeon General. Retrieved September 20, 2008 from: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/mentalhealth/toc.html. Szabo, S. & Hall, M. (2007). Behind Happy Faces: Taking Charge of Your Mental Health - A Guide for Young Adults. New York: Volt Press. Wall, A., Hazen, L., Trockel, M., & Markwell, B. (2008) Developing, implementing, and evaluating innovative sorority substance abuse prevention in the evidence based era. Oracle: The Research Journal of the Association of Fraternity Advisors, 3. Wood, A. & Wahl, O. (2006). Evaluating the effectiveness of a consumer-provided mental health recovery education presentation. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 30, 46-53.

When we do “fraternity” correctly it should be: small, safe, and open. So, while the needs of fraternity and sorority students are not much different than their non-member counterparts, fraternities and sororities have a better vessel to meet those needs. One focus group participant in my dissertation poignantly described my speech as “proof that you need other people.” The fraternal community has a powerful tool in their arsenal when it comes to breaking the barriers associated with mental wellness; that tool is each other (Coffey, 2010). To find a helpline in any area of the world go to www.befrienders.org

AFLV // 009


Mental Health Issues in College Andrea Fuller Cooper • Delta Delta Delta

010 // connections // 2010 • fall


Trouble getting out of bed, dreading the day & not knowing why. Difficulty concentrating. Trouble making decisions, even the simplest ones. Trouble studying and completing assignments. Activities that used to make you happy don’t anymore.

These are just a few signs of depression. Classic symptoms of depression include all of the above and continual feelings of sadness and helplessness; decreased energy; fatigue; irregular or difficult sleep and/ or eating patterns; self-injury; sudden drop in grades; feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness; irritability, anger, and/or excessive crying; on-going physical aches and pains such as migraine headaches; thoughts of death, suicide, or suicide attempts.

Many of you may be familiar with my presentation of Kristin’s Story, the tale of my daughter, who was an Alpha Chi Omega at Baker University. Kristin committed suicide on New Year’s Eve 1995; she was a 20-year-old sophomore. We did not discover the real reason for her suicide until we read her journal after she died. We learned through her journal and close friends that she allegedly had been raped by a man she worked with as a lifeguard during August of 1995. She returned to Baker in the fall and chose to tell her very serious boyfriend about her rape. For reasons I will never know, he broke up with her. Psychologists call that “secondary wounding”. That was a second trauma for Kristin. AFLV // 011


According to Kristin’s wonderful sorority sisters, she was showing all the signs of depression. However, her sisters had not been educated about the signs of depression and did not know how serious her depression was. One sorority sister and roommate actually made an appointment for Kristin to see the counselor at Baker. Unfortunately, Kristin refused to go. Why she refused, I will never know. I suspect she wanted so badly to be strong and independent that she thought it would be “weak” to go to counseling. Another possibility is she would be embarrassed if anyone found out. Kristin knew I sought counseling throughout her life for my depression, and I thought she would be open to seeing a counselor. Since Kristin was in school 10 hours away from home, we were not seeing all the signs of her depression. I even heard from two of her college professors that they saw major changes in her behavior that semester but did not know what was wrong. They had not been trained in recognizing the signs of depression in a student. The professors said she started cutting classes, sleeping through her morning classes, not completing assignments and making terrible grades on her tests. They said her appearance even changed and she started looking exhausted and very sloppy. Her grades dropped from As and Bs to Ds and Fs. I found her grades after she died; she had made a 1.8. Like the students surrounding Kristin in 1995, today’s student leaders are under a lot of stress. The more they understand about depression and anxiety disorders the better equipped they will be in dealing with their own mental health issues and those of others. Understanding mental health issues can help leaders understand why people react the way they do. Someone struggling with a mental health issue may react unusually to anger or jealousy. They may not be able to complete tasks. They may binge drink, use drugs, hook up constantly, lie, steal, or exhibit manic-depressive behavior. An educated friend, chapter president, or chapter advisor may have made a difference at Baker University; with the prevalence of mental health issues on college campuses today, there is a great deal to know. DEPRESSION One-third of college students will face depression at some time during their college career (Guthman, 2010). Depression is usually defined as two or more weeks of having at least five or more of the signs above. Because depression is so prevalent, it affects everyone surrounding the individual struggling with it. It is very important that the person suffering from depression seek professional help with one of the counselors on their campus or in the community. By reading about the signs of depression, it is my hope and goal that student leaders will recognize depression within themselves or a friend, boyfriend/girlfriend, or relative and guide them toward help.

At the 2010 annual meeting of the American Psychological Association in San Diego, study results were unveiled after an analysis of 3,265 college students who used campus counseling services between September 1997 and August 2009. The study found “the percentage of students with moderate to severe depression rose from 34 percent to 41 percent while the number of students on psychiatric medications increased from 11 percent to 24 percent.” The good news is the number of students who said they had thought about suicide within two weeks of counseling fell from 26 percent in 1998 to 11 percent in 2009. The study’s author (Guthman, 2010) says said the reduction in suicidal thoughts could reflect improvements in suicide prevention and counseling outreach on college campuses. According to Tartakovsky (2008), “depression and anxiety are prevalent problems in colleges across the country.” Jerald Kay, M.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the Wright State University School of Medicine, says national surveys of college students show “a distinct rise in mental health problems.” Kay further explains that in the past 15 years, depression has doubled and suicide has tripled among college students. A rise in students seeking help for anxiety disorders is also indicated (Anxiety Disorders 012 // connections // 2010 • fall


Association of America). According to the American College Health Association Survey (2006), 45 percent of women and 36 percent of men felt so depressed it was difficult to function. Courtney Knowles (n.d.), the Executive Director of the JED Foundation, which works for suicide prevention and improved mental health for college students, reports that the average age of onset for many mental health conditions is 18-24, traditional college age. I found it interesting to read these statistics as I have wondered what changes have occurred since I began speaking about suicide and depression to collegiate audiences 12 years ago. Unfortunately, many do not feel mental health problems have improved among college students. Some counselors have told me they are seeing more students for depression and anxiety, but they are not sure if depression and anxiety are on the rise or if more students are coming in for help. BIPOLAR DISORDER Another form of mental illness is bipolar disorder, a manic-depressive mental illness where people switch from feeling overly happy to feeling very sad. The manic occurs when the person feels overly excited and confident while depressive describes when the person feels very sad or despondent. More than 2 million American adults have bipolar disorder (National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) (2007). Bipolar disorder usually begins in early adulthood, a likely time for the person to be in college. Children and adolescents can develop this disorder in more severe forms and often in combination with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Most people with bipolar disorder are in the depressed phase more than the manic. Symptoms of the mania include excessive happiness, hopefulness, and excitement; sudden changes from being joyful to being irritable; restlessness; rapid speech; poor concentration; increased energy; less need for sleep; high sex drive; tendency to make grand and unattainable plans; tendency to show poor judgment; drug and alcohol abuse; and increased impulsivity (WebMD, n.d.). Symptoms of the depressive periods are essentially the same as those symptoms of depression: sadness, loss of energy, feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, loss of enjoyment from things that once brought pleasure, difficulty concentrating, uncontrollable crying, difficulty making decisions, irritability, increased need for sleep, insomnia, weight gain or loss, thoughts of death or suicide, and attempting suicide (WebMD). Along with depression, bipolar disorder is genetically inherited. Medication is the primary treatment for bipolar disorder but the additional use of psychotherapy or “talk therapy” is sometimes recommended, just as it is in depression and other mental health illnesses. One of the biggest obstacles in bipolar disorder is often substance abuse; it

occurs in 30 percent to 60 percent of patients (Brady & Hatfield, 1996). Two to four percent of alcoholics and 30 percent of cocaine abusers meet the criteria for bipolar disorder. SELF-MEDICATION Many students with mental health issues self-medicate. Self-medication is defined as “the process by which some individuals may abuse substances in attempting to use them to relieve other problems such as anxiety, pain, sleeplessness or other symptoms of mental illness.” There is an “underlying vulnerability of the individual that precipitates both mental illness and substance abuse” (Brady & Hatfield, 1996). People suffering from depression frequently use alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, or other mind altering drugs. These drugs may provoke or exacerbate some symptoms of mental illness. Self-medication excessively and for prolonged periods of time often makes the symptoms of anxiety or depression worse. There can actually be changes in brain chemistry from long-term use. The unfortunate reality is that the relief of symptoms via selfmedication is short lived as self-medication treats the symptoms and not the underlying illness.

We have known for years that stress is a widespread issue with college students. Some of this stress comes from within, some comes from parents, and some comes from professors. Grades are likely a very significant reason for stress. Stress also comes from adjusting to a new environment, new lifestyle, new friends, and a new living situation. Many students at the top of their class in high school may no longer be at the top of their class in college. The competition can be more intense and the professors may expect more. When students head off for college, they may feel disoriented and have a loss of self (Silver, 2009); a shaky identity and lack of confidence can lead college students to make poor choices about drinking and drugs. Forty-five percent of college students binge drink and nearly 21 percent abuse prescription or illegal drugs (National Institute of Mental Health). SELF-ABUSE Other students who suffer from mental health issues may be self-abusers. Self-abusers typically injure as a way to express emotions and gain control, not to commit suicide; self-injury is a means to take deep, intolerable emotional pain and turn it into physical pain. Often referred to as cutting, self-abuse is a sign of a deeper underlying problem. I have been told by self-abusers that it is easier to deal with the physical pain than the emotional pain. Symptoms include fresh cuts or wounds, frequent bruises, broken bones, scars, denying self-harm with excuses of accidents, and wearing clothing that covers arms and legs even in hot weather. How can you help a friend who self-injures? > Don’t be afraid to talk. Students who self-injure wish that someone would bring up the subject. > Set aside a time for a private meeting with your friend. Don’t say anything in front of others. > Share your concern with them. > Understand that you can’t cause your friend to self-injure by bringing it up, just as you cannot cause someone to be suicidal just by talking about it. > Let them know you won’t judge them or pity them. > Be empathetic and open. LISTEN and try to understand. > Educate yourself about self-injury. > Encourage your friend to speak with a mental health professional or another trusted adult. > Support any positive steps your friend takes to get help. > Don’t let the knowledge that your friend self-injures change your relationship. The best way to treat the deeper problems of a self-abuser is to see a counselor. Student leadership should do everything they can to get a self-abuser

to see a counselor. A major difficulty is convincing someone of concern and others’ desire for them to seek counseling. Sadly, there is still a stigma attached to seeing a counselor. Sometimes it is seen as a sign of weakness, when it actually takes strength to admit to a problem and willingness to take steps to heal. All college campuses allow a certain number of free visits with a counselor – take advantage of that. Most of the time, after students have met the limit (if there is one), they will be charged on a sliding scale. “Stigma still remains the most significant barrier to seeking treatment” (Knowles, n.d.). In a 2006 study, only 23 percent of students would be comfortable with a friend knowing they were seeking counseling (Brady, 2006). From my own personal experience and research, men are less likely to seek counseling. If you don’t feel comfortable going to the counselor yourself, you can also ask advice from a trusted professor, a minister or priest, or a chapter advisor. Anything you share with these people will be kept confidential. While I have been traveling for the past 12 years, college counselors tell me that they think self-abuse is on the rise. I believe a lot of self-mutilation begins AFLV // 013


I must emphasize, if anyone is even hinting they might be suicidal, absolutely do tell a person of responsibility like the chapter advisor, a minister or priest, or best of all, go to the counseling center. Yes, a friend may get mad that you told, but it is better to have an angry friend than a dead friend. Kristin had told one of her friends that she was thinking of killing herself during Christmas break, but that friend did not tell anyone. I suspect she did not want to make Kristin mad. I know some sororities have had success in doing an intervention with a sister. In one situation I know of, about four of the woman’s very close friends within the sorority went to her and said how worried they were about her and how much they loved her. They begged her to go see a counselor. In this woman’s case, she had been sexually assaulted and chose to go to the Rape Crisis Center on campus for help rather than the school counselor. It worked! The woman agreed to go to counseling at the crisis center and recovered. (Mental Health Issues in College, con’t)

in junior high or middle school. “In the U.S., it’s estimated that 1 in every 200 girls between 13 and 19 year olds cut themselves regularly” (Teen Help. com, n.d.). It is believed that without treatment, many who begin cutting themselves as teens will continue the behavior well into their adult years. Every fraternity and sorority student is a member of an organization that monitors grades. As a Collegiate District Officer for my sorority, the first thing I would ask when a woman dropped below the required GPA to be a member in good standing was if she was dealing with any serious problems, stress, or was battling depression. Student leaders should learn information and, if possible, work with the member to get them to seek help to solve the problem. Getting a friend or chapter member to counseling when they do not want to go is quite a challenge. Consider walking them over to the counseling center. Offer to go in with a friend if he/she would like. If a friend still refuses to go, make an appointment with a counselor and tell the counselor the signs present in a friend. The counselor can suggest steps to take to help. On campuses with a long waiting list at the counseling center, a referral for a community therapist from a trusted professor, career counselor, or resident assistant is another option. Or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-TALK, which is not just a crisis hotline. Students also can get advice and reach someone who will listen. I have heard from many students who are friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, or roommates with someone who is depressed that it can really drag them down. They do have their own lives activities, classes, and stress. Sometimes they feel they can only listen so long and handle so much. I know students who have gone into depression and whose own grades have dropped because they are being so strongly affected by a friend’s struggle. That is normal. Take care of yourself also. Take plenty of breaks from that friend if possible. Tell the friend you really care about him/her and want to help but need some time to nurture yourself as well. If it gets really bad, I go see a counselor for guidance about how to cope with being “dragged down” by a friend. “To combat depression and anxiety, work on coping skills, know your personal limits, monitor your stressors, get enough sleep, eat well, avoid caffeine, and don’t drink excessively” (Davis, n.d.). Although these tools seem to be obvious, many students do not follow these suggestions. One great way to combat secondary effects is exercise. Exercise can be a huge stress reliever and can actually raise serotonin levels.

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With this information, I hope that student leaders will be armed with information about how to help a friend, a relative, a fellow professional, or themselves. There is definitely help out there. With all the resources that are available, there is always hope. References American College Health Association, American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment (ACHA-NCHA) web summary. (2007, August). Retrieved September 13, 2010 from http://www. acha-ncha.org/data_highlights.html.2007 Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA). (2009). Annual report. Retrieved September 13, 2010 from http://www.adaa.org/sites/default/files/Annual%20report%202009.pdf. Brady, K., Hatfield, A. (1996). Caring for the mind: The comprehensive guide to mental health. Retrieved September 13, 2010 from http://www.About.com/Bipolardisorder Brady, K. (2006) “Self-Medicating: When the Cure Is the Disease” Davis, H. (n.d.). Depression and anxiety among college students. Retrieved Sept. 6, 2010 from http://psychcentral.com/lib/2008/depression-and-anxiety-among-college-students/ Goodman, J., Whitlock, J. (n.d.). Cornell Research Program on Self-Injurious Behavior in Adolescents and Young Adults. How can I help a friend who Self-Injures? Retrieved September 13, 2010 from http://www. crpsib.com/userfiles/factsheet_aboutsi(4).pdf. Guthman,J . (2010, August 10). Increase in severity of mental illness among clinical college students: A 12 year comparison. Paper presented at the American Psychological Association, San Diego, California. Kay,J., Tasman, A. and Lieberman, J. A. (1999). Psychiatry: Behavioral Science and Clinical Essentials. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders. Knowles, C. (n.d.). Depression and anxiety among college students. The JED Foundation. Retrieved September 6, 2010 from http://www.jedfoundation.org National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA). (n.d.). Wasting the best and the brightest:  substance abuse at America’s colleges and universities.  Retrieved from PsychCentral, Sept. 6, 2010. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). (2007, March). Wasting the best and the brightest: Substance abuse at America’s colleges and universities. Silver, H. (2009). Campus calm university: The college students’ 10-step blueprint to stop stressing and create a happy, purposeful life. Retrieved from http://CampusCalm.com/. Tartakovsky, M. (2008). Depression and anxiety among college students. Retrieved September 1, 2010 from http://psychcentral.com/lib/2008. Teen Help.com. (n.d.). Cutting statistics and self-injury treatment.  Retrieved from TeenHelp.com on Sept. 12, 2010.  http://www.teenhelp.com/teen-health/cutting-stats-treatment.html. WebMD. (n.d.). Bipolar disorder health center: Bipolar disorder.  Retrieved from WebMD on Sept. 12, 2010.  http://www.webmd.com/bipolar-disorder/mental-health-bipolar-disorder

If you need help now: Please call your local authorities (911), contact a mental health professional, or call and talk to someone at 1-800-SUICIDE.


Smart people know smart stuff.

Here’s your chance to drink some of their smartness.

Tuesday, November 9th, 2:00pm ET/11:00am PT Are We Really STILL Talking About Risk Management?

Presented by Rick Barnes Risk management continues to be the number one issue facing fraternity and sorority leaders. We really are challenged to “get it together or else.” This webinar will highlight who is at risk, and what we can do about it. Issues related to the law, insurance, and school and organizational policies will be addressed.

Monday, November 15th, 8:00pm ET/5:00pm PT

You Can’t Choose When to Put On or Take Off Your Letters: Living Your Values

Presented by Carrie Whittier, Ph.D, and Jenni Jones, Virginia Commonwealth University Do pictures online and individual members’ actions not represent your organization in the best way? Get your members to see the big picture of how they are representing the chapter and the Fraternity/Sorority community. Participants in this program will learn techniques to combat issues with social media and how to appropriately represent yourself, as a member of a fraternity or sorority. Inspire members to start living by the chapter’s values and promoting them on campus. A picture is worth 1,000 words. What are your pictures saying about you and your chapter?

Thursday, January 20th, 2:00pm ET/11:00am PT

Your First 30 Days: Setting the Tone for a Semester of Success

Presented by Dan Wrona and Marsha Carrasco Cooper, RISE Partnerships The semester is just started, and you’re already overloaded! There’s so much to get done, everyone’s looking to you for leadership, and you can’t decide whether to start by sharing your visions and goals, returning phone calls or planning the next philanthropy project. Your decision matters, because the first 30 days of each new semester sets the tone for the next 4 months in the life of your chapter and community. Join us to find out how you can start out on the right foot. Get a checklist of 30 simple tasks to tackle in your first 30 days to make your life easier and chart the course for a successful semester.


“When I went to college, I was a happy kid,” says Jake Kreeger, a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. “But by the second semester of my freshman year, I couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t get myself to go to class or to do homework. Even the theatre, which was the love of my life at that point . . . I had no motivation to audition for anything” (J. Kreeger, personal communication, August 20, 2010).

Delta Zeta Sorority also recognized the need to educate its volunteers on mental health issues and how to help collegians who may be in distress. In February 2008, the sorority became the first fraternal organization in the country to offer MentalHealthEdu as part of its volunteer training. MentalHealthEdu is offered through online prevention company Outside the Classroom.

Approximately one in four young people will suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year (Active Minds, 2010).

The goal of MentalHealthEdu is to help volunteers feel more confident in identifying and responding to student mental health issues. In the first of three interactive online modules, participants learn to interpret the signs of distress commonly exhibited by students. Next, they receive specific suggestions on how to reach out to students. Finally--and here’s where the interactive part comes in--volunteers are presented with scenarios they may actually encounter when working with collegians, and they are asked to evaluate the impact of taking–or not taking–certain steps.

“The first thing you hear as a college student is, ‘These are going to be the best four years of your life,’” says Jake. “A few months go by and you think, why the heck aren’t I enjoying them? What’s wrong with me?” (J. Kreeger, personal communication, August 20, 2010). Most people who need help will never reach out and talk about their issues (Active Minds, 2010). “If you can look at a student and be the first to say, ‘Everybody has a rough time, and it’s going to be OK,’ that starts the dialogue,” continues Jake. “You need to make students comfortable with talking about what they’re going through” (J. Kreeger, personal communication, August 20, 2010). Most people who seek help from a mental health professional see a vast improvement in their symptoms (Active Minds, 2010). The majority of mental health issues present themselves at the high school and college age (Active Minds, 2010). That means chapter houses, residence halls, and classrooms are filled with students dealing with a whole host of issues ranging from diagnosable mental disorders--such as depression, bipolar disorder, or eating disorders--to everyday life issues affecting mental health, such as lack of sleep, roommate troubles, or parents going through divorce. Fortunately, campus professionals are realizing that arming students with information about mental health and creating safe, accepting environments for sharing greatly improves the health and happiness of students in their charge. This summer, Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity launched its first fraternity-wide mental health initiative, Sisters Supporting Sisters, at its national convention. A cornerstone of the initiative is Theta’s partnership with Talk One-2-One, a confidential telephone counseling service offered through the company AllOne Health Resources. Collegians and chapter advisors can call a 24/7 tollfree counseling service and talk with a master’s- or Ph.D.-level counselor any day of the year, even during school breaks. “Kappa Alpha Theta volunteers were being faced with more and more challenging problems that none of them had the ability to deal with,” says Elizabeth Hoza Harootyan, Kappa Alpha Theta’s College District President Coordinator. “Our volunteers are not trained professionals who routinely deal with issues like eating disorders, boyfriend problems, and anxiety and stress. And it wasn’t enough for them to just recommend that our members seek counseling on their own. We felt we needed to offer a better support system where our collegians could talk with a professional” (E. Hoza Harootyan, personal communication, August 19, 2010).

Deal or No Deal

How Proactively Addressing Mental Health Concerns Can Help College Students Deal wITH Life

The Talk One-2-One process begins when a collegian or an advisor concerned about a member takes that all-important step to reach out for help. Many times, problems can be resolved during one phone call. If issues are a bit more complicated, Talk One-2-One finds a counselor close to the caller’s campus so she can talk with someone face-to-face. Sisters Supporting Sisters has only been in place since August 2010, so it’s too soon to gauge its impact. However, Hoza Harootyan hopes that partnering with Talk One-2-One will encourage collegians to offer support to one another and create a safe environment in which to talk about emotional issues before they escalate. “If we see that some of the issues that are currently bubbling up decrease or stay the same because they’re being managed, we’ll know this initiative is helping our members,” she says. 016 // connections // 2010 • fall

Learning how to confidently and competently address real-life scenarios is important. In fact, one of the reasons Delta Zeta partnered with Outside the Classroom is because when the sorority surveyed its volunteers, several of them indicated they didn’t feel adequately prepared to deal with issues, such as self-injury and eating disorders, when advising collegiate members. To address that need, MentalHealthEdu training is offered to all of Delta Zeta’s frontline volunteers, which includes chapter directors, regional directors, and educational leadership consultants. Sigma Nu Fraternity began offering MentalHealthEdu to its volunteers in fall 2009. Prior to using MentalHealthEdu, Scott Smith, Director of Leadership Development for Sigma Nu, said the fraternity did not have a good means of disseminating information so that volunteers and advisors could address mental health issues head on. “MentalHealthEdu provides a great venue for us to do so,” he says. “We’re not trying to train people to do diagnostics. We’re not trying to arm people with cures, because that’s not something you can do over a computer in 30 to 45 minutes. But what we can do is help people find the support and professional resources they need” (S. Smith, personal communication, August 25, 2010). Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity, began offering MentalHealthEdu training to its chapter advisors and alumnae volunteers in February 2009, and then took it one step further; the fraternity partnered with the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors to provide AFA members access to MentalHealthEdu. In turn, campus and headquarters professionals were encouraged to share the program with up to 10 of their campus colleagues who advise or work with fraternity and sorority members to create a dialog about mental health and ways to support students in distress.

“Part of our purpose as an organization is to support our students and provide a healthy environment for them,” says Heather Kirk, Zeta’s Director of Education and Leadership Initiatives. “Early on, ZTA recognized the increasing need of its members in this area and sought assistance to provide expert programming to address mental health. More and more students are coming to college having been diagnosed with a mental illness or having a treatment history, so these are relevant conversations to have and issues advisors need to be aware of” (H. Kirk, personal communication, August 16, 2010). Sigma Phi Epsilon member and Muhlenberg College student, Jake Kreeger, says he still has his ups and down, but nothing like the “hardcore depression periods” (as he calls them) that he used to have in his late teens and his early years in college. In fact, he’s enjoying his final year as a theatre and psychology major and looks forward to the possibility of working in mental health


advocacy after graduation. Until then, he will continue to speak openly about mental health with his Sig Ep brothers and anyone else who wants to join the conversation. “If you’re in a fraternity or sorority, you have the perfect atmosphere to get through this stuff together,” he says. “I mean, just look around you. These are people you either pledged with or did community service with or studied long into the night with or went to a party with. Whatever the situation, it doesn’t matter. These are other human beings that you’ve interacted with and connected with. And that’s what the dialog on mental illness is all about: creating a connection so people feel more comfortable talking about it” (J. Kreeger, personal communication, August 20, 2010). Campuses Continue the Conversation In 2000, Alison Malmon was finishing her freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Her brother, Brian, who was attending Columbia College in New York, had been experiencing depression and psychosis for three years and had kept his symptoms hidden from everyone around him. During his senior year, Brian returned to his family’s home in Potomac, Maryland, and started receiving treatment for what was later diagnosed as schizoaffective disorder. A year and a half later, on March 24, 2000, Brian committed suicide.

ing runs and step-team performances. On National Stress Out Day in April, chapters hold events like Screamfest (students across the country scream at the same time to release stress related to upcoming finals), Recess (childlike fun is encouraged through kickball, four square, and other games) and Oasis in the Library (calm is created through massage, aromatherapy and other stress-relieving activities). One of Active Minds’ most visually moving national programs is Send Silence Packing, an exhibit of 1,100 backpacks that represents the number of college students whose lives are lost to suicide each year. Active Minds has collected and continues to collect backpacks and personal stories of loved ones impacted by suicide, which helps put a face to the lives lost. “Mental illnesses are not life sentences,” says Alison. “You can live a really successful, awesome life with a mental health disorder. But we’re afraid we’re going to be labeled ‘That Crazy Person’ if we come forward, or that if we say we have bipolar disorder, for example, no one is ever going to want to hire us. These are rational fears, and I also think they come from a lack of education about mental illness. Talking openly with friends and family is going to increase that level of understanding and really decrease the stigma” (A. Malmon, personal communication, August 13, 2010).

Have You Heard? Active Minds has a phenomenal mental health speakers’ bureau called The Heard, whose speakers have reached more than one million young adults. By sharing their struggles with and triumph over mental health disorders, these young men and women help audience members understand that it’s okay to talk about whatever’s troubling them.

“I feel the reason Brian took his life is because help came too late for him,” says Alison. “Brian’s friends noticed a change in him, but they didn’t know what it meant. They didn’t know if they should say anything. They didn’t want to bring his issues to anybody other than him, so they ignored it, just like he was trying to do” (A. Malmon, personal communication, August 13, 2010). Alison realized that, on her campus, people weren’t talking much about mental health issues, even though many students were being affected. She wanted to begin that dialogue,

It’s clear that students of high school and college age are going through a tremendous emotional upheaval. A seemingly endless parade of questions bombard their minds: Who am I? Where do I fit in? What do I want to do with my life? And while not every young adult has difficulty answering these questions, it’s comforting to know that fraternal organizations and campuses are finding ways to help students deal with these issues. combat the stigma associated with mental illness, and encourage students to seek help as soon as possible. These goals led Alison to create Active Minds in 2001, a national organization whose mission is to utilize the student voice to change the conversation about mental health on college campuses. To date, nearly 300 colleges and universities have Active Minds chapters that engage thousands of students in bringing mental illness out of the shadows. “A mental illness is a biological illness, not a character flaw,” says Alison. “If someone has diabetes, you don’t just expect them to be able to regulate their insulin [without professional medical support]. That would be ludicrous if you ever told anyone to do that. Yet there’s this idea that you should be able to regulate your moods, your emotions, your thoughts and your feelings. People need to understand that mental disorders are nobody’s fault, and that with treatment, there’s hope and recovery” (A. Malmon, personal communication, August 13, 2010). Active Minds’ national programs, which are put on by chapters across the country, include National Day Without Stigma--held on the Monday of Mental Health Awareness Week each October--and Stomp Out Stigma fundrais-

“There’s no hard and fast rule that you have to have severe depression to talk to someone about what you’re feeling, nor do you have to have a diagnosable mental illness to talk to a mental health professional,” says Active Mind’s Alison Malmud. “Any change in thoughts or feelings, or a sadness that doesn’t go away or just interferes with your life, is enough to warrant a conversation” (A. Malmon, personal communication, August 13, 2010). References A. Malmon (personal communication, August 13, 2010) Active Minds. (2010). Resources. Retrieved August 25, 2010 from www.activeminds.org. AllOne Health Resources. (2010). Student Care Solutions. Retrieved August 25, 2010 from http://www.allonehealth.com/studentcare/Default.aspx. Outside The Classroom. (2010). MentalHealthEdu. Retrieved August 25, 2010 from http://www.outsidetheclassroom.com/solutions/higher-education/mentalhealthedu. aspx. Ruth Goodman is an award-winning freelance writer, editor, and proofreader who also serves as editor of her sorority’s magazine, The Quill of Alpha Xi Delta. Ruth sits on the board of directors for the Fraternity Communications Association, the editorial board for HazingPrevention.org,  and is the technical editor for the Torch & Trefoil of Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity. Ruth has done work for numerous fraternal and higher education clients, including Sigma Nu, Kappa Psi, and Alpha Chi Sigma fraternities, two colleges within the University of Northern Iowa, and for Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Learn more about Ruth and ask how she can help you with your proofreading, copyediting, and writing needs at www.ruthgoodman.com, or email her at lookgood@ruthgoodman.com.


facilItation 411 Personal Strength & Resilience STRESS is a state of mental or emotional strain or suspense; difficulty that causes worry or emotional tension. OVERLOAD is an excessive burden. RESILIENCE is the capacity to bounce back, to withstand hardship, and to repair yourself. PERSONAL STRENGTH refers to the unique talents and abilities we each have. These abilities our strengths - set us apart from others and are our best tools for accomplishment and satisfaction.

018 // connections // 2010 • fall

LEARNING OBJECTIVE Understanding and accepting personal strengths to balance individual wellness and sustain chapter/group health. College students are bombarded with messages, programs and activities that tout “enhancing the college experience” but an overload of participation, even in positive activities, can have negative impact on college student health and chapter participation. With this resilience activity, students will be asked to think critically about their time management, their priorities and their rest & relaxation opportunities. Each student should actively participate in resilience activities to uncover or reinforce rest & relaxation in their personal lives and chapter mentality. The goal of each of these activities is education, awareness and understanding. Students will learn through discussion, activities and take-aways about varied experiences and people. Students should become more aware of their actions and the effect on others as well as others’ effect on them. And students should gain a larger understanding of the tools necessary to build a more inclusive community during their collegiate years and beyond. FACILITATOR CONSIDERATIONS > HOT TIP! Resilience is not a quick-fix. If a student waits until they feel overloaded, it is already too late. It is important to regularly work on strategies to proactively strengthen resilience. > Practice makes (almost) perfect. Regularly practicing resilience concepts throughout the day changes a student’s threshold for stress tolerance and ultimately builds resilience. > Be sensitive to the body’s physical symptoms. The body registers stress long before the conscious mind does. Muscle tension is the body’s alert that stress is being experienced. Facilitators encourage students to read body’s signals and to incorporate relaxation time into the student’s daily routine. HOW TO GET STARTED Incorporate this training into meetings that already exist. By taking a few minutes to teach students resilience and then providing follow-up, facilitators can help students build resilience.


IMPROVE MEMBER RESILIENCE: WHAT INDIVIDUALS/SMALL GROUPS CAN DO The activities listed here will provide a beneficial way to strengthen the student’s ability for resilience and new experiences. Request that each student complete the activity during the meeting, or be mindful of the activity during the week. Inform students that there will be follow-up included in the next scheduled meeting:

ROOM SET-UP Activity Review: Chairs in circle formation for groups of students (have this be the room set-up for the meeting that day)

> Play Overload Cards. Facilitator should supply note cards to students. Student will write categories of their life on the cards and talk about what they like and what about the card makes them feel overloaded. Facilitator can suggest options available to student: > Does this card really matter? Can you release it? > Can this card be delegated to another person?

GROUP SIZE

> Can you re-prioritize to allow more time for this card?

Activity Review: Full Group

> Can you remove negative thought to build confidence to complete this card?

Activity: Individuals or small groups of 3+ people

> Make your schedule work for you (double-dip activities). Facilitators encourage students to make the best use of their time by combining events. Being mindful of opportunities to double-dip experiences allows for more rest & relaxation time. Facilitator can suggest options available to student:

SUPPLIES Activity Review: none Activities: travel accommodations may be required for some activities ACTIVITY TIMING Activity Review: Topics should last for 5-10 minutes each. Activity: Plan a focused practice each week of about an hour for participation in each out-of-the-box activity. WHAT TO DO: ACTIVITY REVIEW OVERLOAD Discovery: Using a rating system to answer these questions (1=never, 2= seldom, 3=very often, 4=almost always), facilitators can determine categories based on student answers for discussions and resilience training. > Do you find yourself with insufficient time to complete your responsibilities? > Do you find yourself becoming bewildered or overwhelmed because too many things are happening at once and you can’t get things done? > Do you wish you had help to get everything done? > Do you find your responsibilities infringing on your rest time, mealtimes and exercise time? > Do you get depressed or anxious when you consider all of the tasks that need your attention? > Do you think excessive demands placed on you will never end? > Do you feel that you have too much responsibility? That people expect too much from you? Start the activity review with one of these questions: > Tell me about a time when you felt overloaded. What was the cause of this overload?

> Need study breaks? Schedule study breaks to coincide with chapter events and activities. > Do most of your members work out? Host a brotherhood/sisterhood event at the gym. > Want to support the community? Train together for a 5k that benefits a special philanthropy. > Practice “No” Statements. Facilitators encourage students to be mindful of when they say “yes or no” to new or current responsibilities. Encourage students to think, “Can I really devote time to this? Will this be my best effort? Would someone else benefit from leading this task?” > Remember it is ok for something to fail. Failure is a learning opportunity. Students should realize what is important to accomplish, to delegate and to release. Facilitators can work with students to discuss how to decide what can be released or delegated and what to do if the project doesn’t meet expectations without the student’s involvement. PLAN FOR SUCCESS People get more out of experiences that they enjoy. When leading or participating in resilience training, make sure it is an event that helps students change their behaviors in a safe, beneficial way. Allow students to have the opportunity to do what they want with the information, it may take days or months or years for them to grasp the concept and see the benefits. ASSESSMENT After you’ve hosted or lead any event, assessment is essential for improvement. Consider distributing surveys to participants or sponsor a feedback meeting to gather successes, opportunities and goals for the next program. IMPROVE MEMBER RESILIENCE: WHAT CHAPTERS/COUNCILS CAN DO > Get Rid of Mandatory: Mandatory equals lazy. Select a maximum of seven events per semester that are mandatory (does not include chapter meetings). For all of the rest, make them interesting so that chapter members will want to attend. (Thanks to TJ Sullivan and his “Apathy Myth” Keynote) > “Skip-Tastic FREE” cards: Have options for members that can’t attend events. Make a “SkipTastic FREE” card. This allows chapter members to prioritize events to attend and allows them an option for an event that they can’t attend without incurring a penalty.

> Do you feel that college students today have [too much, just enough, too little] vying for their time and attention?

> Select officers based on personal strength: Before officer selection time begins, current officers should meet to discuss emerging leaders that have the competency and desire for officer positions. Selecting officer potential based on talent and personal strengths increases the potential for growth and productivity significantly. Examples:

> Tell me about a time when you felt rested. How do you like to recharge?

> Accounting Majors may want to consider treasurer responsibilities > Education Majors could serve as New Member educators > Marketing/Advertising/PR majors could oversee PR responsibilities > Tech Guru? Have them update chapter/council Social Media sites

AFLV // 019


Samantha Armstrong Washington State University sjarmstrong@wsu.edu Candice Wolf Northwest Missouri State U. candice@nwmissouri.edu Liz Osborne Oklahoma State University elizabeth.osborne@okstate.edu

ASK THE EXPERTS

An expert is someone widely recognized as a reliable source of technique or skill whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by their peers or the public in a specific well-distinguished domain. An expert, more generally, is a person with extensive knowledge or ability based on research, experience, or occupation and in a particular area of study. Experts are called in for advice on their respective subject, but they do not always agree on the particulars of a field of study. An expert can be, by virtue of credential, training, education, profession, publication or experience, believed to have special knowledge of a subject beyond that of the average person, sufficient that others may officially (and legally) rely upon the individual’s opinion. Historically, an expert was referred to as a sage (Sophos). The individual was usually a profound thinker distinguished for wisdom and sound judgment. Experts have a prolonged or intense experience through practice and education in a particular field. In specific fields, the definition of expert is well established by consensus and therefore it is not necessary for an individual to have a professional or academic qualification for them to be accepted as an expert. In this respect, a shepherd with 50 years of experience tending flocks would be widely recognized as having complete expertise in the use and training of sheep dogs and the care of sheep. Another example from computer science is that an expert system may be taught by a human and thereafter considered an expert, often outperforming human beings at particular tasks. In law, an expert witness must be recognized by argument and authority. Research in this area attempts to understand the relation between expert knowledge and exceptional performance in terms of cognitive structures and processes. The fundamental research endeavor is to describe what it is that experts know and how they use their knowledge to achieve performance that most people assume requires extreme or extraordinary ability. Studies have investigated the factors that enables experts to be fast and accurate.

WANT TO BE AN EXPERT? If you are a professional who has great advice, email publications@aflv.org and let us know that you are interested in being one of our future Experts.

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Q: Late last spring we had a member threatening suicide one night when she was drunk. We freaked out and ended up calling the emergency number on our campus – one thing led to another and eventually we had campus police at our house to do a type of ‘well check’. Everyone was obviously really upset, especially the individual member. Now the member has threatened to resign from the chapter because she is so upset about this. She is angry with us and saying we violated her privacy and embarrassed her. We love her and don’t want her to leave. We think we did the right thing, but it seems as though the situation may have cost us our friendship. What do we do?

Candice Says: Before we talk about what you do, you have to realize that you did the right thing. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students in America. Even if the threat was unwarranted, you can never take someone threatening their own life too seriously. I would advise giving the situation time. Talk to your friend. Communicate that you made that phone call because you obviously do care for her well-being. In addition, your decision to report the situation was based on a statement she made publically, not a rumor or hearsay, so even though she was intoxicated, you really were obligated to report the situation. In the near future, I would ensure your policies relating to emergencies or risk management are up to date so that you have a standard response to similar situations. Although this member might still have been offended by the chapter’s reaction, she might have taken it less personally if she knew that you were simply “doing what you had to do” according to your chapter policies. Liz Says: Your sister may need a little time too cool off. If she was publically embarrassed, then a little time might help. After some time has passed have one sister approach her to address the situation. You don’t want her to feel attacked again. Start off by just talking and see if she brings it up. If she does, just let her vent. If she doesn’t bring it up, mention it in a brief statement. Be supportive of her feelings and be sure not to minimize them. Ultimately, if you come from a place of caring and not of judgment, you’ll have a greater chance of reaching her. During the conversation with her, try to make her see that the members that called for help were just acting in her best interest. Let her know that it was about protecting her and not embarrassing her or invading her privacy. Apologize if getting help wasn’t carried out in the best way, and leave it at that. Don’t make excuses. It may take time, but you can regain her trust and friendship.

Samantha Says: While stimulant medications like Adderall have become frequently used among college students as “study aids” and “party helpers,” they are controlled substances and are very dangerous if not taken in the manner prescribed by the person they are prescribed to. Let there be no mistake about it, in sharing your medically prescribed drug, you are endangering yourself and those you share with. You have no way of knowing if those you give to have an underlying condition that may be exacerbated or complicated by taking Adderall or how it will impact them if they mix it with alcohol. In not sharing, you are upholding fraternal values and engaging as a true brother would by keeping those around you safe. In the words of Dr. Jeff Benson (2006), of the Dudley Coe Health Center, “sharing is not caring” when it comes to Adderall. As tough as it might be to feel ok with people thinking you are uptight, you will need to eventually feel ok with it if you are dedicated to being the leader you were meant to be. You can do many things to try to get them to understand, but the reality is, if they still think you are uptight after you explain the dangerous medical and legal ramifications, you need to be ok with the fact that you are protecting yourself, them, and doing the right thing. If they do not understand, then the sad news is they were not truly your friends in the first place.

Q: I take prescription drugs (Adderall) for ADHD and a few of the guys in my chapter area always offering to buy them from me for parties. I used to give them out here and there, but have stopped and now people are pissed at me. Obviously I’m not their dealer, but how do I really say that so I don’t seem uptight?

Liz Says: A wise man (Dave Westol) once told me about the difference of one. One member can be the catalyst for change in any organization whether they are tackling hazing or recreational prescription drug use. It won’t be easy, but I would recommend that you stand up to your brothers and say just what you said to me. “I’m not your dealer.” You could approach them individually, if that makes you more comfortable. Explain that the Adderall is to help you succeed academically. Additionally, ask each of them how recreational use of prescription drugs fits into the values of your organization. By reminding them about the very ideals that make you brothers in the first place, you can find a common ground and gain their respect again. If that doesn’t work, you may have to hold them accountable by working with your chapter president or standards committee to continue the values conversation specifically addressing how drugs of any kind don’t have a place in your chapter. You may seem a bit “uptight,” but the consequences of dealing prescription drugs or using prescription drugs are far worse than that.


Samantha Says: First, I would like to commend you for working to address this issue on your college campus and within your Greek community. For years, mental health issues have carried a stigma and individuals have kept their struggles under wraps, fearing that they will be shunned or judged. The stigma mental health issues carry seems epidemic and yet, I do not know anyone who has not been touched by mental health struggles. Either because of their own struggle, someone close to them, or someone they have interacted with, everyone I know has been exposed to mental health issues in some way. Breaking the stigma that surrounds mental health issues is the only A group of people in our Greek true way we can begin to help support those struggling with them. Through education and community proposed the idea of awareness, we acknowledge that we all strughaving a Mental Health Awaregle at some point, and we enable people to ness Week but lots of people reach out and get the help they need.

Q:

were really down on the idea. The people who aren’t into it say that mental health isn’t as big of a deal as the other causes we raise money for. This really upset me. Any ideas how I can help shift peoples’ attitudes?

One of the reasons people may have really been down on having a mental health awareness week on your campus is because they are not educated about how prevalent these issues are. Additionally, they may not be thinking about how mental health issues have impacted their lives. Mental health refers to a whole host of issues. I recommend that you work with your small group to think about how to get people to connect with the topic. You may want to pay a visit to your campus counseling center for guidance, or visit http://www.nami.org and http://www.twloha.com for more information and ideas you can present. Lastly, think about the topics your Greek community already focuses on and how mental health education can be incorporated into them. An easy one is hazing education and how an individual’s mental state can be impacted if they are hazed. Talk to people about what brotherhood and sisterhood really entail. Are we true brothers and sisters if we cannot talk about and discuss when our members are struggling or in pain? Are we true brothers and sisters when we cannot recognize when people are struggling or in pain?

ASK THE EXPERTS

Candice Says: Use data to make your case! Talk to your health or wellness center about any data they might have about the number of students on your campus or in colleges nationwide that suffer from mental health issues. I’m certain you will discover that it is an important issue that your Greek community should support. If you know someone who is affected by mental health issues, have them speak to the decision makers regarding this idea. If that isn’t an option, have someone from the foundation for which you plan to raise money send you information or even come to speak to your campus and Greek community about how the money you raise can/will be used. Educating your Greek community on what “mental health” actually encompasses may help as well. It doesn’t just have to be about diagnosable mental health issues, such as depression or bipolar disorder. Everyone can benefit from taking care of their mental health by learning healthy ways to deal with stress, build strong and healthy relationships with others, or even help build strengths and skills that will prepare them to excel in life. If all else fails, remember that sometimes you have to start small. Although there is much to discuss when it comes to mental health, starting this program with a full week of activities may seem overwhelming to your peers. Again, talk to your health or wellness center as they may already be coordinating activities that you can help support in some way. If not, try starting with a lecture or a Mental Health Awareness Day to garner interest. You can always expand on the idea in coming years.

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12

Signs

that You or a Friend Might Need to Talk with Someone

1

Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, depressed mood, poor self-esteem, or guilt.

2

Withdrawal from friends, family, and activities that used to be fun.

3

Changes in eating or sleeping patterns (gaining weight or loss of appetite, sleeping all the time or having trouble falling asleep).

4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Anger, rage, or a craving for revenge.

12

Thoughts about death or suicide.

Feeling tired or exhausted all the time. Trouble concentrating, thinking, remembering, or making decisions. Restless, irritable, or agitated or anxious movements or behaviors. Regular crying. Neglect of personal care. Reckless behaviors. Persistent physical symptoms (headaches, digestive problems, chronic pain that doesn’t respond to routine treatment).

Data from Active Minds, www.activeminds.org.

If you need help now: Please call your local authorities (911), contact a mental health professional, or call and talk to someone at 1-800-SUICIDE.


Indiana University Panhellenic Council Addressing Mental Health · Indiana University The Panhellenic Council at Indiana University has teamed up with the Counseling and Psychological Services office to establish multiple ways to educate the Panhellenic community about mental health. Panhellenic has established a Mental Health Awareness Series, Safe Sisters Program, and has provided training for their Recruitment Counselors. This past year was the first year that the Panhellenic Council implemented the Mental Health Awareness Series at Indiana University. This program is set up as a series of workshops led by a Clinical Counselor from Counseling and Psychological Services and are specifically geared toward certain officers of the chapter depending on the topic for that month. Over the course of this past year, the topics have covered everything from stress and anxiety, eating disorders, body image, suicide awareness, and depression. Overall, the Mental Health Awareness Series was considered to be a success and the council hopes it will continue to serve as a resource for the chapters. The Counseling and Psychological Services office is also providing education to the Recruitment Counselors at Indiana to help educate them about warning signs that they should be aware of with women who are participating in the formal recruitment process. The Formal Recruitment process can be overwhelming and stressful for potential new members and those who serve as a Recruitment Counselor play an important role in serving as a front line contact for the large number of women participating in the recruitment process. Educating Recruitment Counselors allows them to be better prepared on how

to identify a woman who might need to be referred to Counseling and Psychological Services. Panhellenic Council also introduced a program on campus known as the Safe Sister Program. This program was established to educate representatives from each Panhellenic chapter about sexual assault. These women all participate in an organized training through the Counseling and Psychological Services office and also participate in monthly meetings in order to continue to provide additional education or to discuss topics and issues that are relevant to sexual assault. These “Safe Sisters” are asked to make sure that the chapter is aware of their involvement in the program so they might be able to best serve as a resource for the members of their organization. The women of the Panhellenic Council at Indiana University are committed to the overall health of their members and understand the importance that mental health plays in the holistic experience of sorority membership.

Challenging the Thin Ideal through the Reflections: Body Image Program · Delta Delta Delta Fraternity Across the nation women have grown to accept the “thin ideal” that is glorified within the fashion and media industries. Women of all ages struggle with body image issues that can be due to the pursuit of the “thin ideal” rather than working towards living a healthy lifestyle. Delta Delta Delta believes this is an important issue for all women and is addressing the challenge of how they can impact body image issues among college aged women. To this end, Tri Delta teamed up with Dr. Carolyn Becker of Trinity University in 2005 and after a couple of years of pilot testing, officially launched Reflections: Body Image Program in 2008. Reflections is the first evidence-based peer-led body image education and eating disorder prevention program that has been repeatedly shown to work, and is the first designed for and in collaboration with Delta Delta Delta. Co-developed by Dr. Carolyn Becker, the local sororities of Trinity University, and Tri Delta, Reflections works not only on improving body image issues but also on encouraging healthy confrontation and communication skills.

Reflections is led in small groups with peer facilitators, meeting in two sessions for a total of four hours. Peer leaders guide interactive discussions on a variety of body image topics. Course materials include a peer facilitator manual and a mix of assigned exercises to implement between and after sessions. Tri Delta launched a training program for peer facilitators called Reflections: Body Image Academy and hosts it twice a year for college women who are interested in being peer facilitators and for campus student affairs and wellness professionals who are interested in running the Reflections program on their campus. One unique factor about this program is that Delta Delta Delta is reaching outside of its own organization and has committed to sharing this program with all college aged women. Currently, Reflections has been implemented on a total of 84 college campuses. On 22 of these campuses, campus professionals have attended the Reflections: Body Image Academy and have been trained to implement this program on a campus level outside of just the local Delta Delta Delta chapter. Tri Delta believes in this program and knows that body image issues affect all women in our society on some level. Tri Delta is dedicated to doing what they can to help address this topic through outreach and education with this evidence-based peer-led program. This program has already reached over 2,500 women and Tri Delta is committed to reaching 20,000 college women. To learn more about the Reflections: Body Image Program visit their website at: www.bodyimageprogram.org/program

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FROM THE ROAD

*

From the Road is a chance to highlight best practices from Fraternity and Sorority communities across the nation. What has your campus done lately that deserves recognition? If you would like to be featured in an upcoming issue, go online to www.aflv.org/services/connections and submit an overview of a great activity that your council or community has done lately.


Taking Action:

Students Supporting Students Kristen Leigher • Alpha Xi Delta •  Worcester Polytechnic Institute

The SSN has trained 184 students since its start in 2007 and has been funded by a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). On campus, SSN members are well regarded and readily available. Members have been noted as good listeners who are approachable and respected by those who surround them. Their enhanced and strategic communication skills are paired with their promise of confidentiality. SSN students are better leaders and friends because of their involvement in this program. Students from all different organizations on campus are SSN trained, including many fraternity and sorority leaders. Fraternity and sorority members find this program particularly useful in their chapter leadership positions because of their desire to be better brothers and sisters.

Being a sister of Alpha Xi Delta’s Iota Xi chapter and an active leader in many student groups on the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) campus, I have become more aware of some of the problems my college community and peers face every day. While mental health and substance abuse issues are present on campus, not many students are armed with the tools and courage to talk about these subjects openly with their peers. WPI’s Student Development and Counseling Center (SDCC) has developed a unique and effective way to promote peer communication about mental health issues and problems with substance abuse through a program called the Student Support Network.

Because of the success of the SSN program, other organizations on campus have developed out of the SSN making topics of mental illness feel less taboo in the WPI community. One example occurred when the SDCC took on a student group called Active Minds, an organization that uses student voices to change the discussion of mental health on campus. The SDCC has also made a huge stride in the realm of relationship violence by starting two groups on campus devoted to stopping and dealing with sexual assault and violence. The all-male group called MAVRIC (Men Against Violence and Rape In our Community) devotes itself to decreasing the prevalence of sexual assaults on campus and the all-female group called CAS 101

The Student Support Network (SSN) is an organization devoted to enhancing student awareness of mental health and wellness. I applied to be part of SSN because of the amazing opportunities it presented. As a leader, it has always been a passion of mine to better the quality of life for members of the WPI community by being an understanding and helpful person to all of my peers.

(Communicating About Safety 101) educates students on the dynamics and prevention of sexual assault. Both sexual assault peer education groups have had great success on the WPI campus. Also, by branching out to the Worcester community, these two groups have educated the public on several serious issues and were successful in raising money for their causes.

During SSN training, members are trained in support techniques and are educated

broadly in the area of mental health. SSN members are presented with information about depression, suicide, drug and alcohol dependency, and mental illnesses that are prevalent on college campuses today. There is also supplementary programming on topics like stress management and developing healthy relationships and education about campus services such as the suicide prevention hotline and the WPI Counseling Center. Students finish training armed with resources to help their peers with a variety of issues. All members who are SSN trained know how to spot warning signs and are well practiced in making referrals for peers in need. Even with all of the knowledge shared about mental health, supporting friends who need help is more than just knowing facts about disorders and phone numbers of services. The SSN delves into how to listen and communicate their knowledge about mental health issues effectively so SSN advocates can help their fellow students cope with their problems. SSN members are not taught how to counsel their peers but they are taught how to enhance their existing support skills. The SSN also offers advanced sessions for members to further their skills and knowledge in topics related to mental illness. These sessions have helped me to improve my interpersonal abilities by making me feel more prepared in my leadership roles on campus and more confident in my ability to carry the things I have learned into future relationships and roles. 026 // connections // 2010 • fall

After feeling more connected with my community through SSN training, I now serve as the current president of CAS 101. Bettering our community through education and support is a new and strong passion of mine. While serving as the WPI Panhellenic Council’s Vice President of Recruitment, being an active sister in my sorority, and remaining a diligent student, I make it a point to always make time to listen and help peers who desire support. I have gained knowledge and experience that will last me a lifetime. I am also a better sister, friend, and leader because of my time in SSN. Fraternity/Sorority life, for me, has been and will always be about promoting stronger bonds with my community and helping people in need. Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the community of Worcester, and my fellow peers and staff have excelled at providing ways to make the community stronger and more comfortable for all people involved. The Student Support Network and student groups like it have done nothing but good things for our community and I think any college or fraternity/sorority community could benefit from an organization like SSN.


% & the Survey Says...

In fall 2009, the American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment research survey collected data about students’ health habits, behaviors and perceptions. A total of 34,208 students from 57 colleges and universities across the country participated in the assessment.

Here’s just a sampling of students’ responses about what they experienced during a 12-month period: > 84% felt overwhelmed by all they had to do > 80% felt exhausted (not from physical activity) > 56% felt very lonely

> 47% felt overwhelming anxiety > 45% felt things were hopeless > 37% felt overwhelming anger > 29% felt so depressed it was difficult to function > 6% seriously considered suicide Learn more at the American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment website, www.achancha.org/.


Student hospitalized after hazing. A fraternity’s Wayne State University chapter [is under suspension] and could have its charter revoked following allegations that a 22-year-old pre-medical student was hazed so cruelly he wound up in a hospital for nearly two weeks. [The student] claims he was required to go to a house in west Detroit for 32 consecutive days, where he says he was administered beatings that sometimes lasted several hours as part of his initiation to become a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.

BUSTED!

Stupid Things that You Have Done Lately

The goal of Busted! is to call attention to an event, situation, or practice that has actually occurred and utilize it as an experience that others can learn from.  It is commonly said that fraternities and sororities suffer from unfair stereotypes and are undervalued for our true purpose as values-based organizations. Unfortunately, some fraternity and sorority members commonly mock these stereotypes by behaving in ways that only solidify them in the minds of others. Busted! aims to confront these stupid decisions via direct confrontation. Actions such as these do nothing but reinforce the negative stereotypes of today’s fraternities and sororities. Embarrassed? Then knock it off.

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“They would hit me all over,” said [the student]. “They would have me recite information I’d learned about history or whatever, and see how I responded under pressure by hitting me with thick paddles and slamming my body with their hands.” [The student’s] attorney said he plans to sue the fraternity for the medical bills incurred because of the beatings. The most severe thrashing, [he] said, occurred in the house on March 1, when allegedly dozens of fraternity members from across Michigan assaulted him. Walker said he also was forced to eat dog food. Later that night, after he’d gone home, [the student] said he was horrified to see that his urine was red. A friend drove him to Annapolis Hospital in Wayne. [He] later was transferred to University Hospital in Ann Arbor, where he was treated for kidney failure, among other injuries. He remained in the hospital for 12 days. In an interfraternal world where so many students are debating if those matching scrunchies they made their pledges wear are considered hazing, it seems like stories like these should be legends of a bygone era. Not so much. For the love of Zeus, people. It’s 2010 and we’re still beating people? We’re still using paddles? It’s as if these men lived in the far reaches of Antarctica, not the metropolis of Detroit where surely cable television is available. Because there would have to be some serious ignorance for these men to not know that this is a bad idea. And let’s take a break from all the fraternal values talk for a moment and simply point out that BEATING someone – for any reason – is a bad idea. It’s other things, too. Criminal. Mean. Dangerous. Did we mention criminal? So what we have here is an incredibly courageous college student who, after being beaten to the point of serious injury, stood up to a group of older men who were abusing their power all in the name of fraternity. We assure you, there is no rationale or reason that wouldn’t make us at Busted! gag. We don’t want to hear about earning letters, or understanding suffering, or any of that business. At the end of the day, these men – whoever they were – committed assault, in our opinion. And we have no time or patience or space for them in our fraternal community.


Omega Psi Phi chapter suspended at University of South Florida The University of South Florida chapter of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity [was] suspended while detectives investigated allegations of two nights of off-campus hazing. The hazing took place about 11:30 p.m. Aug. 22 and 23, police said. 10 News has learned several pledges were taken to a closed business off campus and badly beaten over a period of a couple of days. A business at [the location at which the beatings took place] is the storefront office of J&G Tax. A call to the business’ number was not returned. A week after the last of the incidents, a row of folding chairs lined one wall of the tax office, with a large open space on the floor in front of them. The manager of a neighboring restaurant said he wasn’t aware of any trouble at the office. Since then, detectives have conducted interviews with potential victims, suspects and witnesses, [a police spokesperson] said. None of the potential suspects is a current USF student, and no one received medical treatment as a result of the incidents, [the spokesperson] said. Nationwide, Omega Psi Phi boasts an impressive roster of alumni, including Bill Cosby, poet Langston Hughes, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal and Florida Democratic Senate nominee Kendrick Meek. But the fraternity also has landed in the news over allegations of hazing. In May, Purdue University suspended the fraternity’s chapter. In April, a University of Houston senior sued the fraternity and several members, contending that hazing put the student in the emergency room. In 2003, the fraternity itself expelled 13 members in Huntsville, Ala., following hazing allegations. And in 2000, the fraternity agreed to pay $1 million to a former University of Louisville student beaten in a hazing incident in 1997. As soon as USF administrators learned of the allegations, USF took what [the university president] described as the “severest possible action.” The Omega Psi Phi chapter was suspended, and the chapter’s national organization was notified so that it could begin an investigation. The suspension means that the chapter is not recognized by USF. “They can’t meet. They can’t rent rooms. They can’t operate on this campus,” [a USF spokesperson] said. What was it we said about the Kappa Alpha Psi story? For the love of Zeus? Yes, that. Let’s look at some of the real problems with this story. First, the part where the news outlet so kindly lists for us the previous hazing allegations of the fraternity. For those Busted! readers who are not yet parents, let us translate this for you. It says, “Hey, moms and dads, whatever you do absolutely do NOT let your sons get involved with this fraternity. Because if it can happen in Indiana and Alabama and Texas and Kentucky and Florida, it can happen in your state, too.” Forget that argument that undergraduates love about it being one rogue member or grad doing all the harm. This appears systemic. Whether it is becomes irrelevant. Notable, however, not the most concerning piece for sure.

Second, let’s just go ahead and repeat ourselves, shall we? Beating is not okay. Not. Okay. We realize kindergarten was a long time ago, but “no hitting” was one of those lessons that was taught way back then, if it hadn’t been mastered already. And that was with people who weren’t necessarily family! These men are supposed to be your brothers. Again, for the love of Zeus. Third, let’s really get to it shall we? “None of the suspects is a current USF student.” Did you catch that? None. Once upon a time we believed we needed to police undergraduates because they were the ones making all the poor choices. Blame the college mindset. Blame youth. Blame something temporary. But it sure doesn’t sound like that’s an out here. Sure, maybe some of these “not current USF students” are traditional college age. If they are, it’s likely they’re men from a chapter on another campus. Well, how kind of you to take your hazing show on the road. More likely, given the location (a BUSINESS in Tampa), the perpetrators are graduate members of the organization. That’s hella scary. That’s not Bill Cosby’s kind of fraternity. Presumably, what we have here is a case of grown men who need to abuse younger men to feel powerful and important. Absolutely ludicrous. At the very least these men should be removed from Omega Psi Phi permanently. They should also be in jail. Now, typically at Busted! when we refer to the best part of the story, we’d be providing the reader with sarcasm. Here, not so much. Possibly the best part of the unfortunate Omega Psi Phi tale is the news that some of the USF students themselves busted the fraternity for tarnishing the good name of fraternity and sorority done right. As the state attorney’s office reviews allegations of hazing on at USF, students from other fraternities and sororities held an anti-hazing rally on campus Thursday afternoon. Armed with dozens of posters, buttons on their chest, and their favorite Greek gear, the students say they are fighting back. “We do not support it, we do not condone it, we do not partake in hazing, and it’s absolutely not acceptable,” said [a sorority member]. Organized in just two days, the rally is in response to accusations that at least one Omega Psi Phi fraternity pledge was beaten at an off-campus gathering last month. As Tampa police continue investigating, the students who gathered Thursday want it known that hazing is not what they’re all about. [The sorority member] put the rally together in part because she was disgusted by the allegations, and also to raise awareness about the school’s anti-hazing policies. She concedes, though, this story of hazing is probably not an isolated case. “I think students are very scared to come out and speak about these hazing incidents, and I do think it happens more often than reported,” [the sorority member] said. May we just say: “Thank you!”

(2010, Apr. 30) Student: ‘Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity hazing put me in the hospital’. Retrieved from: http://newsone.com/nation/news-one-staff/student-kappaalpha-psi-fraternity-hazing-put-me-in-the-hospital/

References

Danielson, R. and Rossetter, S. (2010, Aug. 31). USF suspends Omega Psi Phi fraternity amid hazing allegations. St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved from: http://www. tampabay.com/news/education/college/usf-suspends-omega-psi-phi-fraternityamid-hazing-allegations/1118490

Kamm, G. (2010, Aug. 31). Update: Police investigate beating of USF Omega Phi Psi fraternity pledges. WTSP 10 News. Retrieved from: http://www.wtsp.com/ news/mostpop/story.aspx?storyid=143516&provider=top

Freeman, A. (2010, Sept. 2).Following fraternity suspension, USF holds anti-hazing rally. WTSP 10 News. Retrieved from: http://www.wtsp.com/includes/tools/print. aspx?storyid=143895

Landeros, P. (2010, Aug. 31). USF Fraternity pledges beaten. WTSP 10 News. Retrieved from: http://www.wtsp.com/news/topstories/story. aspx?storyid=143490&catid=250


A survey by mtvU & The Jed Foundation found that 63% of students had been so stressed that they couldn’t do their schoolwork at some point during the last semester.

Keep Stress in Check The key to coping with stress is being aware of your personal tolerance levels for different types of stress. You must either let go of or change situations that cause you stress. Some of the following suggestions may help immediately, but if your stress is constant, it may require you to make lifestyle changes or visit your counseling center for support. > Focus on time management. Plan ahead to make sure you’ve scheduled enough time for your schoolwork and other obligations. A little planning can have a huge impact on your stress level. > Take one thing at a time. When you are overwhelmed – deal with one urgent task at a time. When that’s done, move on to the next. > Be realistic. If you’re overwhelmed with school, you may have to say “No,” to certain extracurricular activities. Don’t be pressured into taking on more than you can handle. > Meditate. Five to ten minutes of quiet reflection can bring some relief. If you’re having a stressful day, find a quiet place to breathe deep for a few minutes or go for a quick walk to clear your mind. > Exercise. Thirty minutes of physical activity per day helps both body and mind. > Take a break. Sometimes you just have to take a break and do something you enjoy. > Share your feelings. Don’t try to cope alone. Let friends and family provide support and guidance. > Be flexible. Whether you’re at school or home, conflict only increases stress. If you feel you’re right, stand your ground, but do so calmly and rationally. Be prepared to make allowances for other people’s opinions and to compromise. Sources used in this article: mtvU / Jed Foundation and AP College Stress and Mental Health Poll

030 // connections // 2010 • fall

Six Tips for Taking Control of Your Emotional Health Choices you make about sleep, diet and exercise can have a direct impact on your emotions and state of mind. Here are some quick tips that everyone can use to stay well or feel better: Get Sleep College students practically invented the all-nighter, but lack of sleep can interfere with your ability to think rationally, make good decisions and deal with stressful situations. Skipping sleep may give you more hours in the day, but it won’t be quality time. It can make it hard to do well in class and can make you more likely to get sick, upset or depressed. Planning ahead and prioritizing can help you get the sleep you need. Most experts recommend 7 to 8 hours a sleep of night, but the best sleep schedule is one that works for you and fits into your schedule. Stay Active College is an important time to develop exercise habits that will help you stay healthy and fit. In addition to improving your physical health, just 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 3 to 5 times a week can significantly improve mood, decrease fatigue and reduce stress. Research has shown that people dealing with mild to moderate depression have experienced up to a 50 percent reduction in symptoms after exercising on a regular basis. Eat Right It can be hard to eat well at college, but the “Freshman Fifteen” is not the only consequence of ignoring your body’s nutritional needs. Bad eating habits can also affect your state of mind. Too much caffeine or foods high in sugar can increase nervousness and irritability and make you less able to concentrate and manage stress. Not getting enough key vitamins and nutrients can also have a negative impact on your mood. Try to eat fresh foods including fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Manage Stress How we deal with stress is just as important as the factors that cause it. Avoid stress when possible, but also develop coping skills to deal with necessary challenges and pressures. If you can’t avoid a stressful situation, find the best ways to deal with it. Is it a workout or a yoga class? Do you write or listen to music? Learn what works for you. Know Your Limits Hanging out with friends and going to parties can be a stress reliever, but using drugs or alcohol can also test your emotional health. Abusing drugs and alcohol can cause depression, irritability, bad judgment and insomnia. Determine your limits ahead of time so it is easier to avoid pressure to cross that line later. Speak Up If you were experiencing back pain or stomach cramps, you would probably go to your doctor or health center to get it checked out. It’s just as important to speak up and get things checked out if you are concerned about your thoughts, feelings or behavior. As with all health concerns, the earlier you address emotional health issues the better.


The Jed Foundation’s Half of Us campaign with MTV uses stories from students and artists like Mary J. Blige, Pete Wentz and Brittany Snow to empower everyone to take care of their emotional health and speak up if they’re struggling. You can learn more and watch video stories at www.halfofus.com.  


{ }

one more { thing we know you’re near the end, but we’d love to tell you

before you go and look at the back cover of the mag.

Asking for Help is a Sign of Strength “On the outside, I appeared to be at the top of my game, both academically and socially,” says Melanie Gutermuth, a senior public administration major at Texas State University in San Marcos. “I was a Dean’s List student with an impressive set of co-curricular achievements, including new student orientation leader, student government senator and campus newspaper columnist, among others. But a lot of that over-involvement was a means of avoiding the personal issues I was struggling with. That façade of control was hiding a personal life that was anything but in control.” Melanie was diagnosed with clinical depression and took a leave of absence from school to deal with her mental health issues. She is now back on campus, leading a more balanced life. “The most important thing I learned about myself through this experience is that to be an effective student leader and a healthy role model for other students, I have to take care of myself first.  And I’m not as afraid to communicate and ask for help with those struggles as I once was. I’ve become better at time management, goal setting, and either delegating or asking for help before things become overwhelming.” “Mental health and wellness is an ongoing process,” continues Melanie. “Just as we exercise, eat well and visit our primary care providers to maintain physical wellness, evaluating our overall stress level and its impact on our mind and body is important too.”

032 // connections // 2010 • fall

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