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May is Mental Health Awareness Month: But What Does it Mean for College Students?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

May has been mental health awareness month since 1949. The goal of mental health month is to raise awareness around mental health issues and provide support to those who may need it, and there is often an outpour of support on social media for those who struggle with their mental health during this time. As a college student, I often find myself asking, how can I be a good advocate while staying on track with my schedule? It seems almost impossible to get involved in the mental health fight. But the truth is, there are so many ways to promote resources and be an advocate while you’re living on a college campus.

One of the biggest ways to be an advocate during future Mental Health Awareness Month and beyond is by utilizing social media. There are so many great accounts to follow that provide great mental health information. Some of my personal favorites that focus on mental health in schools on Instagram include @mental_makeover, @active_minds, and @jedfoundation. These organizations provide infographics, videos, and information you can repost on your story to advocate for change. It’s super simple and quick: it barely takes any time out of your day, and you are getting information to people who may need it!

There are also some great mental health advocacy podcasts that you can listen to that will give you more knowledge and resources. Two of my favorites are the SelfHealers Soundboard and We Can Do Hard Things with Glennon Doyle. Not only have these podcasts helped me understand other struggles; they have helped me to understand my own issues and tackle them effectively. If you have a long car ride coming up for move out, I would definitely recommend giving one (or both) of these a listen!

You can also be an advocate by talking candidly about your own mental health and encouraging others to use proper language when discussing others. For example, catching yourself saying “[x] had a successful suicide attempt” can be incredibly important in reducing stigma. Instead, focus on rephrasing to “lost to suicide” or “died by suicide.” This language model can be applied to so many other situations. To read more about how to talk to and support someone struggling with a mental health condition, click here.

If you’re looking to get even more involved, UMass Amherst has several organizations on campus, such as Active Minds and the Student Wellbeing Advisory Board (SWAB). These groups advocate for student wellbeing and provide resources for student’s mental health. I love being involved with Active Minds and will be one of the VPs for the club next year! If joining a club isn’t your style, UMass CCPH also has several resources on their website and a crisis line which can be reached at (413)-545-2337. Just knowing about these resources can help you be the best mental health advocate you can be.

Hopefully, this article has given you new ideas for being a mental health advocate on campus. Even just being a listening ear for someone else can make such a difference, even if they are really just touching the surface of what advocacy can look like. Not only during future Mental Health Months but also everyday, I encourage everyone to re-evaluate their mental health practices and what they can do to show they are a mental health advocate for others who may not have the resources to reach out for help.

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Megan Allen

U Mass Amherst '25

Megan is a junior at UMass Amherst, double majoring in Community Education & Social Change and Psychology. Outside of writing, Megan enjoys reading, taking a fitness class, and drinking an iced chai with oat milk. She is so excited to be a part of Her Campus this semester!