According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in four college-age people has a diagnosable mental illness.
The campaign started Monday, Nov. 9, the Greek neighborhood, which is south of OSU's campus, became stormed with messages of hope and encouragement as the Greek community took part in #GreekStrong, a campaign put on by the Greek councils at OSU in hopes of opening the conversation for mental health on campus.
Encouraging messages, such as “you are enough” and “mental health is just as important as physical health,” were written on banners that were hung on sorority and fraternity houses.
While the uplifting banners were not the only part of the #GreekStrong campaign, they did put the word out for the campaign as snapshots of them were displayed all over student’s Snapchat stories and Instagram feeds in support of the campaign.
It was clear to the Greek Council members that they needed to do something for the Greek community to facilitate open and honest conversations regarding mental health before students head home for winter break, said Oklahoma State’s Panhellenic Council President Ally Sutherland.
“We prioritize the well-being of our members, and #GreekStrong served as a way of outwardly expressing our support and reminding students that their mental health matters,” Sutherland said.
The different Greek Councils work on providing mental health resources to their members all year long. When OSU went online last semester the Panhellenic council did a webinar titled “Staying Connected While Social Distancing” that included tips for taking care of your mental health. Also, Greek 100, a student-led peer education program, has had a mental health component in the works since last spring.
Alongside that, there was a mental health series over the spring and summer semesters. One of the students behind the series was Lucia Kezele, vice president of community outreach for the Panhellenic Council, who is continuously working alongside other council members to put out programming regarding the matter.
“Talking about mental health is important in our community because we have a community full of individuals who may not feel or know how to identify what they are feeling, how to talk about what they are going through, or that not being OK is OK,” Kezele said.
The purpose of the campaign was to ensure that Greek and non-Greek students on campus feel loved and supported by their peers, said President of OSU’s Multicultural Greek Council Bryan Franco.
“We are entering the fourth quarter of the year, and we are uplifting each other up towards the light at the end of the tunnel,” Franco said. “We will finish our year strong regardless of the circumstances, we will continue to prosper.”
OSU has had to adapt in many ways this year due to the ongoing pandemic, which has caused a lot of stress to many students and faculty.
Green ribbons were passed out by Theta Pond last week to raise awareness for mental health issues and let people know that the campaign was going on. Green is the color used to represent awareness for mental health, and students were also encouraged to wear green the first day of the week to kick off the campaign.
There are many resources on Oklahoma State University’s campus for mental health. OSU students who want to seek help should contact the Student Counseling Center which is located at 320 Student Union or visit the Virtual Walk-in Clinic. More information about these resources can be found on the website, wellness.okstate.edu.