Photo by Kiersten Ness / The Collegian

Like college students across the country, many Spiders battle stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges — which is why Richmond makes it a priority to support the total wellness of a student.

We’re proud that our own students recognize that, too, and that they are taking action. A group of Richmond fraternity members have joined together to support one another by creating a UR chapter of the national Mental Health First Aid program.

Interfraternity Council president Dave Fishman, ’18, told The Collegian that after he was elected, he reflected on the needs he saw within his community, recognizing that mental health still carries a stigma and can be difficult to discuss. He wanted to offer a new type of mental health program that could train men within the fraternity community to be a type of first responder.

“At 2:30 in the morning, your first thought is not ‘I’m going to wake up and call CAPS [Counseling and Psychological Services],'’’ Fishman told The Collegian. “We’re going to turn to our brothers first, as cliché or cheesy as it sounds.”

The program trains students to be points of reference within fraternities on campus, offering a supplement to the strong existing wellness support at Richmond, like CAPS and health and wellness education.

“We are very lucky at the University of Richmond to be on top of [mental health challenges] by adding new clinicians and programs, but I think what we’ve also seen is a desire by the students to be a part of it from a response standpoint,” Steve Bisese, vice president of student development, told The Collegian. “It’s all because people want to be more effective in caring for their fellow students.”

We’ve always known that Spiders take care of one another, and this is just one more powerful example.

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