learn / 2014
All of Us at UCLA: A Revitalization of Mental Health
Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by USAC Office of the President and USAC Student Wellness Commission at UCLA
A student-led conference that is centered around educating and empowering the Los Angeles community about issues related to mental health.
Please describe yourself.
Collaboration (partners are signed up and ready to hit the ground running!)
In one sentence, please describe your idea or project.
A student-led conference that is centered around educating and empowering the Los Angeles community about issues related to mental health.
Which area(s) of LA does your project benefit?
- Central LA
- East LA
- South LA
- San Gabriel Valley
- San Fernando Valley
- South Bay
What is your idea/project in more detail?
The Office of the President and the Student Wellness Commission at UCLA are introducing a campaign to revitalize our campus’ mental health: “All of Us at UCLA.” This long-term campaign will run year-round, focusing on multiple facets of mental health.
In order to promote the ideals of “All of Us at UCLA,” organizations have collaboratively decided to host the first annual Mental Health Conference. We intend for this conference to (1) provide a safe space for members of the Los Angeles community to discuss the challenging issues of mental health. (2) Educate members of the Los Angeles community about mental health issues. (3) Empower members of the Los Angeles community to de-stigmatize mental health and advocate for positive change.
What will you do to implement this idea/project?
All of Us campaign includes a core team of student leaders who organize around the collective vision to bring mental health to the forefront in the Los Angeles community. The core team consists of the following components:
(1) PROGRAMMING Committee organizes events and workshops for the campaign. (2) MARKETING/MESSAGING Committee advertises and promotes the campaign and its’ events. (3) RESEARCH Committee will conduct studies and analyze data to ensure appropriate programs are being conducted for relevant mental health issues. (4) ADVOCACY/POLICY Committee will integrate the needs of various communities, including but not limited to: LGBTQ* community, the Los Angeles Unified School District, the homeless community, etc., in conversations and projects for the campaign. (5) COMMUNITY RELATIONS AND OUTREACH Committee serves as the liaison between community-based organizations and community leaders in Los Angeles and the campaign to revitalize Los Angeles’s commitment to mental health. (6) CAMPUS OUTREACH Committee coordinates with on-campus groups and organizations to engage the undergraduate student body through advocacy and service.
We plan to prioritize mental health by hosting various workshops and events on our campus to engage the student body and the Los Angeles community. We will establish mental health as a priority on the agenda for the University of California system. We will host a large-scale conference later in the year to facilitate workshops and open caucus spaces for the Los Angeles community to learn about the importance of mental health and to voice their perspectives on relevant issues surrounding the topic of mental health. Curriculum will be developed by addressing the issues in a structured way to encourage a safe space and build discussion. In order to ensure the success and the longevity of this campaign, we have collaborated with various organizations on campus and plan to work with off-campus organizations to build a larger coalition and a stronger support base.This campaign will, furthermore, encompass media campaigns, visible demonstrations, and educational opportunities.
How will your idea/project help make LA the best place to LEARN today? In 2050?
In the present, All of Us seeks to empower UCLA students to challenge and redefine the way we think about health; we should not only prioritize our physical health, but our mental health as well. Its purpose to break down barriers and stigma will, in turn, while foster intellectual and personal growth of our students, despite the stressful nature of college. In addition, the campaign will provide a platform to advocate for a healthy campus where students feel safe to pursue acquiring assistance for all mental health needs.
The vision of All of Us is to create an impact on the LA community; policies and programs implemented at UCLA would change the culture around mental health in Los Angeles. The perception of seeking assistance for mental health and maintaining it is directly related to the overall success of students in their post-graduate lives. Ultimately, students are the agents of change for the future. By creating leaders who will exercise the value of prioritizing mental health, the LA community benefits.
All of Us seeks to create a healthier Los Angeles community. Today, we hope to solidify a foundation for UCLA students and members of the LA community to think critically about our mental health’s relationship to our overall well-being. For tomorrow, we aspire to catalyze the shift in societal perception to ensure our community’s success.
Whom will your project benefit?
All of Us, a campaign founded by UCLA undergraduate students, will prioritize mental health in LA county by starting with the 28,000 undergraduate students of UCLA. Mental health is not one-size-fits-all. To benefit the largest group we will tailor workshops, events, and educational literature to specific communities: first year students, international students, student athletes, veterans, students who identify as part of the LGBTQIA community, and students who identify as part of specific cultural communities. But mental health does not stop when a student graduates. Our campaign will provide continuing care resources for postgraduate students as they move beyond the UCLA community.
Through collaboration with on-campus entities, like the Healthy Campus Initiative, we hope to advocate for the well-being or faculty, administrators, and UCLA employees.
All of Us realizes that the UCLA community is fluid and intertwined with the greater Los Angeles community. Through our Community Outreach committee we hope to extend the benefits of this campaign throughout the county, particularly to the children of the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.
Our main partners for this campaign are confirmed and include the USAC Office of the President, the Student Wellness Commission and Active Minds at UCLA. We will also be working closely with UCLA CAPS (Counseling And Psychological Services) to ensure that all of our messaging and programming is accurate and sensitive of the parties we hope to reach with our campaign. Furthermore, CAPS will train all campaign members in topics pertaining to mental health through QPR and Mental Health First Aid training.
The USAC Office of the President is responsible for presiding over the Student Body Council and provides services and resources for the UCLA student body through advocacy, education and programming. This year, USAC president Devin Murphy has adopted the platform of mental health revitalization and has begun work on this mission with the creation of the All of Us mental health campaign. The Office of the President has already appointed its own committee, consisting of directors and staff members, solely for the All of Us Campaign and has started work on the campaign materials that will reach not only UCLA students, but also individuals throughout the LA community.
The Student Wellness Commission at UCLA serves to address the needs of student health on campus by creating informational and interactive programs, services, and resources to ensure physical and psychological well-being along with academic success. SWC brings many years of health programming, education, and marketing experience to All of Us.
Active Minds is the student voice for mental health advocacy on college campuses throughout the nation, creating a variety of events, workshops and outreach programs to spread awareness and reduce stigma surrounding mental health.
Three factors critical to the success of collaboration are (1) We can efficiently create a structure to delegate tasks and get work done in the most efficient manner possible with our staff of over 100 people. (2) We have access to mental health professionals as a resource throughout the creation and execution of the campaign. (3) Student Wellness Commission has led a successful campaign, 7000 in Solidarity, to raise awareness of sexual assault on our campus. This experience is vital it programming for All of Us.
How will your project impact the LA2050 “Learn” metrics?
- Percentage of children enrolled in early education programs
- Percentage of community college students completing a certificate, degree, or transfer-related program in six years
- Youth unemployment and underemployment
- District-wide graduation rates
- HS student proficiency in English & Language Arts and Math
- Academic Performance Index scores
- College matriculation rates
- Student education pipeline (an integrated network of pre-schools, K-12 institutions, and higher education systems that prepares students for seamless transitions between high school, higher education institutions, and the workforce) (Dream Metric)
- Suspension and expulsion rates (Dream Metric)
- Truancy rates in elementary and middle school (Dream Metric)
- Students perceived sense of safety at and on the way to school (Dream Metric)
Please elaborate on how your project will impact the above metrics.
The availability of mental health resources and student health services on high school and college campuses are indispensable in ensuring access and matriculation, retention and growth, and graduation and employment. Mental health services are incredibly necessary to fortify a graduation pipeline that facilitates success both on and off-campus, and the All of Us campaign is a core component in our commitment towards ending the school-to-prison pipeline that too often deprives youth of their own agency and success.
As we dismantle the unwarranted stigmas of mental health perceptions, increase the availability and quality of mental health resources, and educate friends, family, and community leaders on the realities and pervasiveness of mental health, the success of Los Angeles students will surely skyrocket. Simply, students that feel better do better. As we create a culture of acceptance and education on matters of mental health, and as students have increased access to mental health services, the quality and caliber of their work and self-perception will consequentially rise. As students become increasingly confident and comfortable in their work, their success will lead to better chances for college matriculation, post-graduate employment, and a less tumultuous journey along the way. Surely increased mental health services and resources will prevent students from temporarily or indefinitely suspending their time at an educational institution, and will accordingly also reduce their risk of interacting with the juvenile justice system that captures at-risk youth who, often due to mental health issues, are unable to engage in the classroom to their fullest potential.
As the All of Us campaign expands and gains support of all aspects of civil society, including K-12 education, private businesses, government organization, community-based nonprofits, and faith-based institutions, the “Learn” metrics will be addresses and become a priority across the region. Identifying and addressing mental health issues early in a student’s life will have an unprecedented impact in bettering their education environment and ensuring that their fullest attention and abilities are maximized in class. Reducing truancies, ensuring a sense of safety, and maximizing student potential on achievement exams are but the beginnings of what this mental health revolution will be successful in.
Please explain how you will evaluate your project.
We expect an increase in the use of counseling and psychological services from students and individuals of the Los Angeles area. We will analyze available usage data from counseling and psychological service centers to determine an increase in utilization.
We expect an increase in community focus about mental health. We will connect with Los Angeles organizations and UCLA student groups to promote mental health as a priority. We will determine success through increased mental health considerations from contacted organizations.
We expect an increase in facilities for counseling and psychological services. We will work to provide larger and more convenient spaces for individuals to receive mental health services.
What two lessons have informed your solution or project?
The All of Us mental health conference is inspired by the efforts/lessons of two separate student-initiated successes: the educational events of 7000 in Solidarity and the 2013 Students of Color Conference at UCLA.
7000 in Solidarity: A Campaign Against Sexual Assault is a student-run coalition and campaign to provide students with education on consent, effective bystander intervention, and their rights and resources to better support student survivors of sexual assault. The campaign utilizes the talents and knowledge of other students and student groups outside of the sexual assault prevention realm, asking these groups to plan programs about the topic of campus sexual assault through using whatever means, talents, and interests they have. The culmination of this collaboration came during “Consent Week” in February, where over 30 different student groups contributed to educational programming and event fair to talk about how their student group, focus, culture, etc intersected with sexual and gender-based violence. For example, the UCLA Cultural Affairs Commission hosted a spoken word event called “Word on Wednesday” with the theme “Silence & Sexual Violence.” Another event was a mini-series of lectures about Gender, Intersectionality & The Media, featuring speakers from Daily Bruin, Incarcerated Youth Tutorial Project, Sex Squad, and Muslim Students Association. The collaborations and educational programming put on by external groups through the coalition promoted more events than could have been created by 7,000 in Solidarity alone and with specific focuses for communities put on by their community leaders.
The 2013 Students of Color Conference followed the same model of utilizing student groups and student leaders to put on their own educational workshops based off their experiences as students of color and intersectionality with other issues - such as food deserts, sexual violence, incarceration, debt, etc. UCLA students, student groups, and community leaders were invited to develop workshops to give the more than 1,000 student registrants of the conference on issues they were passionate, talking about each issue through the lens of the how these students of color attending and their communities are affected and hope to remedy the problem.
Between these two student-run initiatives, we’ve seen the power of student voice and education on important issues, and we hope to follow the models but focusing on the topic of mental health.
Explain how implementing your project within the next twelve months is an achievable goal.
As mentioned above, All of Us has a committee composed of directors and staff members who are already collectively working on achieving the campaign’s goals and vision. In addition to the committee members, directors and staff members from the Student Wellness Commission’s Active Minds, a committee dedicated to increasing awareness surrounding mental health, are also currently actively planning and organizing for the public launch of the campaign during the beginning of fall. Furthermore, all the student leaders working in the offices of the Undergraduate Student Association Council are going be directly or indirectly making an impact on the success of this campaign, especially student within the Office of the President and the Student Wellness Commission. Finally, once All of Us is officially launched in the fall, we anticipate that there are going to be a large number of students who are interested in joining the campaign and contributing to it in any way possible.
Implementing All of Us successfully and smoothly requires people, and we have a large number of motivated and committed individuals all working towards a common goal. In addition to all the ally student groups that are going to be helping us achieve our goals, we are also going to be receiving the support of established organizations and companies like the Office of Residential Life at UCLA and Counseling and Psychological Services at UCLA.
During the months leading to the conference, we will be actively planning and sorting out all the logistics associated with the workshop. We will divide labor efficiently and establish intense organization and structure to ensure that our plans get executed. We already have a few places in mind as to where the conference can be held as we have a large campus with vast resources. In addition to planning the conference during the school year, we are going to increasing our visibility using shirts, social media, and tabling, and organizing events, workshops and programs that actively education and engage the students of UCLA and the greater LA community on mental health and mental illnesses. We want to detach all the negative stigma associated with mental health and detach the stereotypes that surround mental health. Doing so will allow us to determine which programs and method work best for revitalized and prioritizing mental health.
Please list at least two major barriers/challenges you anticipate. What is your strategy for ensuring a successful implementation?
One major challenge that we predict is the level of student participation and attendance at this event. Many students are not aware of mental health as a student issue, and thus may not sign up to attend the conference. However, we plan to publicize this event in the months, weeks, and days leading up to it in order to bring mental health to light as an issue on the UCLA campus. Our hope is that we will have many smaller mental health awareness events before and leading up to the main conference event, and this would promote the conference as well as the issue as a whole.
Another potential challenge we predict is publicity in the Los Angeles community. We intend for this conference to not only target UCLA students and faculty, but also serve as an open space for members of the Los Angeles community to voice their concerns. However, effectively programming and publicizing to the entire Los Angeles community is difficult considering the necessary amount of resources. Therefore, in addition to targeting UCLA students and faculty, we intend to target organizations such as the National Alliance for Mental Illness and the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health along with many other mental health related, Los Angeles based organizations.
What resources does your project need?
- Publicity/awareness (social capital)
- Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)
- Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)
- Community outreach