Photograph courtesy of Soleil Shah, '17

At Richmond, it’s not enough to simply study an issue. We also try to help solve them. So we’re heartened by two recent examples of students helping to address the nationwide issue of mental health on college campuses.

This spring, a research project inspired a group of rising juniors to revive the local chapter of Active Minds, a national organization for students designed to raise mental health awareness, provide education and support, and to destigmatize mental health on college campuses.

Annika Sampedro, Leah Cabo, Hannah Dunn, and Adriana Grimes completed the project researching mental health at Richmond as a capstone for their Sophomore Scholars in Residence program in global health.

“This group is focused on an issue that has the potential to affect everybody here,” Leah Cabo, ’19, told The Collegian. “We all go to an academically rigorous school, we all are away from home — it presents a lot of pressures on everybody equally.”

The group’s formation nearly coincides with the launch this spring of a Peer Wellness Coaching program that students formed in partnership with the Health Center.

Recent grad Soleil Shah, ’17, helped start this group, which trains students to provide confidential support and advice on managing stress to fellow Spiders.

“Peer Wellness Coaches can be for any student who just feels a little overwhelmed with different aspects of his or her life,” Shah told The Collegian. “A broader goal is to create a culture of openness over mental-health issues. A lot of people are hesitant to be open about that or talk to their peers, but their peers are the ones who have the most influence on every behavior.”

If you needed another reminder of what makes this place so special — here it is. Students who care and come together to address one of the most challenging concerns for college life.