Psi U Cares
Why should Psi Upsilon focus on Mental Health and Wellness?
In an American Journal on Men’s Health article from 2018, researchers found:
• There is an ever-increasing rate of concern for student mental health on college campuses
• Students are using unhealthy coping strategies to manage their mental health, including sleeping aids and alcohol/substance abuse
• The number one recommended mental health intervention is increasing mental health literacy through online and e-learning sources, while also decreasing stigmas around seeking help.
Active Minds, an organization focused on addressing the mental health impacts on young adults, notes:
• 39% of students in college experience a significant mental health issue
• 75% of mental health issues begin by age 24
• 67% of people 18-24 with anxiety or depression don’t seek treatment
While college students are experiencing loneliness and depression at increasing rates, fraternities empower students and provide a strong support system. Research shows these connections can create a strong sense of belonging, leading members to have more positive mental health and less anxiety and depression than other students. And when members seek help, they are twice as likely to turn to a brother than anyone else. Because of this Psi Upsilon started Psi U Cares.
What is the Psi U Cares Program?
Psi U Cares grew out of the current mental health issues faced by our members on college campuses and the opportunities that fraternities have to assist and better support them. First recognized by the 173rd Convention in 2016 and reaffirmed at the 177th Convention in 2021 the Psi U Cares program has 3 parts:
- Creating a “Health and Wellness Chair” position in the chapter to be aware of available resources to members in their campus and community, sharing this information at chapter and new member meetings, and to help guide the chapter through the Psi U Cares program.
- Encourage participation in service and philanthropy events that raise awareness and lessen the stigma of mental health issues, specifically the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Walks. We have a Google Sheet listing the nearest upcoming walks for our chapters here.
- Educate our members and distribute resources to help them as individuals to know where to go for assistance, better identify signs of distress and support one another. In addition every chapter should partner with their host institution, or other community resource, and invite a speaker to address topics to improve mental wellness like managing stress, proper rest, and other forms of self-care.
In addition, as a part of Psi Upsilon’s standardized Risk Management Training for all new initiates, Tightrope, includes modules on recognizing mental health issues in oneself and others and provides resources to assist in dealing with these issues.
Where can you go to identify campus resources?
ULifeline by the Jed Foundation, provides a comprehensive, confidential, online resource center where college students can feel comfortable searching for information regarding mental and emotional health. It includes:
- Self-Evaluator, a self-administered screening for thirteen common mental health conditions (note that, while confidential, the tool requires you to select your school in order to complete it, and not all schools are included in their database).
- Get Help Now, which lists hotlines for an array of issues; enables users to search for resources on their campus (note that not all schools are included); and provides resources by topic.
- Help a Friend, including how to tell if a friend is struggling, how to talk to a friend who is struggling, and other topics.
- Wellness Topics, including sleep, exercise, nutrition, stress management & relaxation, and connectedness & healthy relationships.
- The Facts, about 11 mental health issues, including stress, emotional health, and several mental health diagnoses.
A quick search of your campus’ website will likely direct you to resources in your local community or on your campus as many colleges provide mental health and counseling resources to their students. These can be a great starting point to get some additional information and support locally.
Please keep in mind, if you are in crisis and in need immediate help Call 911
If you are having suicidal thoughts Call or Text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline): 988
If you or someone you know needs to talk with someone right away, text HOME to 741741 (The Crisis Text Line) for a free confidential conversation with a trained counselor.
Recommended Philanthropic and Service Partners and Programs
There are numerous organizations that can help raise awareness and lessen the stigma of mental health issues, and by no means is this list exhaustive.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Walks – These walks, held in hundreds of cities and campuses across the country, are the core of the Out of the Darkness movement, which began in 2004. These events give people the courage to open up about their own connections to the cause, and a platform to create a culture that’s smarter about mental health. Friends, family members, neighbors and coworkers walk side-by-side, supporting each other and in memory of those we’ve lost.
Movember – Movember is an annual event involving the growing of mustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s suicide.
The JED Foundation’s “Seize the Awkward” Campaign – The Jed Foundation (JED) is a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults and it created the Seize the Awkward program on campuses to encourage conversations on mental health and making them less uncomfortable. Using social media and similar forms of communication you can help spread the word.
If you are looking for more information for yourself or someone else here are some helpful websites.
- Anxiety Social Net: Create your own profile at Anxiety Social Net to connect with people dealing with everything from social anxiety to agoraphobia.
- The Tribe: This online platform allows individuals with anxiety to come together virtually for peer-to-peer support. The site offers forums, chat rooms and various wellness tools for members to use.
- Prefer to meet in person? Find a state-by-state list of support groups at the Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s website.
- The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) – offers online and in person support groups for a variety of individuals, including separate groups for young adults, veterans, seniors, and family members.
- LGBTQ+ are not inherently prone to suicide risk because of their sexual orientation or gender identity but rather placed at higher risk because of how they are mistreated and stigmatized in society. The Trevor Project offers counseling and resources specifically to assist the LGBTQ+ community:
Obsessive Compulsive Thoughts and Behaviors
- More than 200 groups are listed with the International OCD Foundation, which aids those affected by the disorder and their families.
Survivor of Rape or Sexual Assault
- After Silence is a message board and chat room for victims of sexual violence.
- DailyStrength hosts a web forum where people dealing with self-injury can find encouragement, understanding, and a new way to cope.