This week I had the pleasure of interviewing a new student campaign called We Are DePaul Blue
. They launched as part of a Public Relations Campaign class, where they’re part of a national competition where schools are teamed with a national non-profit client.
This year, they were assigned Campaign to Change Direction
, whose philosophy is, “If everyone is more open and honest about mental health, we can prevent pain and suffering, and those in need will get the help they deserve”.
Students Mia Hinkebein, Kate Hohenstatt, Alexa Ohm, and Meghan Thesing are working behind this project.
“Their mission is essentially what we’re localizing to DePaul, so it’s about mental health, self-care, and most importantly for them, knowing the five signs of emotional suffering,” Alexa said.
These five signs are:
1. feeling hopeless
2. poor self-care
3. feeling agitated
4. feeling withdrawn
5. personality changes
We Are DePaul Blue is aiming to teach these five signs to the DePaul community.
“Their big thing with the five signs is that we have to start with a common language in order to normalize it,” Mia said.
Thus, the four girls are encouraging individuals and groups to take the pledge to learn them and are also presenting them to student organizations on campus. They want to start talking about it, because the only way to combat a stigma is to bring a voice to it.
“A big component of our campaign is the friend aspect because people are more likely to reach out to a friend to talk about their mental health than go into a counselor, so it is just building that community on campus,” Kate said.
Since their launch mid-February, they have received a lot of positive feedback from students, and hope to turn this into a student organization at DePaul in the future.
We Are DePaul Blue’s launch also comes at a fitting time with finals just around the corner. They recently had a “Decompress Your Stress” event, as well as “Positivity Pop Up” where post-it notes with positive sayings were put up on campus for students to take.
In addition, a lot of events are coming up to encourage self-care and positive well-being before the quarter comes to a close, such as a self-care workshop on February 28 and a mindfulness meditation on March 8.
“Even if the people coming to our events are people who are having a great day that day and just want to try this, they have a network of people who at one point are probably going to need them to know what these five signs are or know what that self-care tip is to help them,” Alexa said.
To get involved with We Are DePaul Blue, take the pledge to learn the five signs, attend their events, follow them on social media, and use #WeAreDePaulBlue.
They also encourage you to share your story
and talk about mental health more often to help combat the stigma and normalize the topic.