At the 2019 Collegiate Leadership Conference, Tri Delta announced that, thanks to generous funding from donors through the Tri Delta Foundation, it would be piloting its Mental Health Initiative in spring 2019 at 23 collegiate chapters in partnership with the Human Power Project.
The program addresses an urgent need for Tri Delta’s collegiate members today. According to the American College Heath Association conducted by the National College Heath Assessment in Spring 2018, 42.9 percent of undergraduate students surveyed said in the last 12 months they had felt so depressed that it was difficult to function, and 64.3 percent reported that they had felt overwhelming anxiety in the last 12 months. There is clearly a mental health crisis for today’s college students.
Additionally, during their collegiate years, our members are expected to adjust to multiple personal, social and academic demands while trying to establish a healthy lifestyle and behaviors. This can be extremely challenging and can often result in depression, anxiety, anger control, lack of sleep and substance abuse—issues which are greatly impacting our members and chapters.
The Tri Delta Foundation is committed to addressing this need in its continual effort to assist our members in every possible way. Thanks to donor support, Tri Delta’s Mental Health Initiative pilot program will use a world-class mental health curriculum.
This powerful program uses short, highly creative videos to engage members. Additionally, two members from the chapter will serve as peer-facilitators who will lead their chapters through an informative presentation and interactive group activities. The lessons plans are designed to improve our members’ relationships with themselves and others.
Ross Szabo is the CEO of the Human Power Project and spoke to chapter officers at CLC. He explains, “Many college students are developing or deepening coping mechanisms that will last for a long time. Young women’s brains fully mature between the ages of 22-25, and the patterns that they establish before this are critical to their development. Focusing on their mental health can help them be more prepared to face the challenges in life as well as be more empathetic and understanding of their sisters. Mental health truly is a part of sisterhood. When chapters are communicating effectively it increases their sense of belonging and contributes heavily to membership development.”
Collegiate member Swati Bhandari, San Francisco, says, “I think talking about mental health is so important. Tri Delta providing and offering these resources for members is a huge step toward de-stigmatizing the negative connotations about mental health in organizations where traditionally people believe that you have to be perfect and so put together all the time. It also is a way to show the members that Tri Delta is investing in their future. Because if they are a happy and healthy collegiate member they, in turn, will be a happy and healthy alumnae member.”
This newest initiative wouldn’t be possible without the generous support our donors, women who, through their gifts, are making a positive and lasting impact on their sisters’ lives. Lucy Morlan, Simpson, is Tri Delta’s senior director of chapter operations and a Foundation donor. In her work at Tri Delta, Lucy sees firsthand the how Foundation-funded programs – such as this Mental Health Initiative – help empower Tri Delta’s members.
“We know from our collegiate members that mental health is an area they want help with,” says Lucy. “Campuses are struggling to provide support in terms of counseling services, and our members are turning to sisters for help. This program will give them a baseline of information of how to get the help they need and how to recognize when someone needs help.”
As an alumna Lucy is inspired to give back to the Foundation, knowing the impact Tri Delta’s educational programs have on its members. It’s also another way for her to give back to Tri Delta outside of her job.
“I’m contributing to the Foundation because I believe in it, and I believe in the programming Tri Delta offers its members. Being able to provide programs that can impact every single chapter and every single member – regardless of whether they’re an officer or a chapter leader – speaks to the mission of Tri Delta and the Foundation. Who wouldn’t want to donate to something you know can do that?”