Jennifer Samander: Bringing Awareness to Mental Health

Name: Jennifer Samander

Hometown: Jenson Beach, Florida

Age: 19

Major: Family and Child Sciences

Relationship Status: Single

Photo By: Annie Grafe

Her Campus (HC): What organizations are you involved with on campus?

Jennifer Samander (JS): I am a member of NAMI and Best Buddies.

HC: What is NAMI?

JS: Not a lot of people have heard of NAMI, it stands for National Alliance on Mental Illness. Our mission is to educate people on mental illness and make people aware of it, especially on college campuses because mental health is a really big issue here. A lot of people suffer from anxiety, depression and schizophrenia, and we’ve had a lot of suicides here. So it’s really relatable to us and a lot of people really don’t want to talk about it. So we’re here to educate them, support them and encourage them to seek help and get treatment.

HC: What do you do with Best Buddies?

JS: Best Buddies is for kids with intellectual disabilities. The kids with these disabilities sign up to get paired with one of us and we’re their best buddy. We have events and galas and spend a lot of time with them. They’re our best friend and we become really close with them.

HC: Why did you choose to be a part of these organizations?

JS: I am really really really passionate about NAMI. Best Buddies is really amazing too but I am a part of NAMI because, like I said, mental illness is really common. I have had my own struggles with mental health and so have some of my family and friends as well. A friend of mine committed suicide due to depression. So I am really passionate about people opening up and seeking help because treatment will always help someone.

HC: Do you have any events going on that you want students to know about?

JS: NAMI is holding a 5k to raise money on April 3 at 9 a.m. at the International Statue on FSU campus. There will be free food, gift cards, coupons for mimosas at Madison Social and a free t-shirt. You can sign up to run or volunteer on our Facebook page, NAMI on Campus at Florida State University.

HC: What do you hope to pursue in the future?

JS: I really want to be a pediatric nurse. But I definitely want to continue to be in this club probably for my whole life. Even if I’m just a volunteer. I am really passionate about mental health and love helping people and seeing people overcome their struggles. I really think that mental health is not really looked at as being as serious as it actually is and I want to make the awareness more known all over the world.

HC: How do you manage to be such a huge part of two organizations, a full-time college student and have a social life?

JS: Well, I don’t really have a social life. Mostly on the weekends I make time for fun. I definitely don’t have as much of a social life as most people but I love what I do with my organizations and I take school seriously. Really it is all about time management, I have to do a lot of stuff ahead of time, especially studying.