For their senior project, five public relations students at Brigham Young University have developed a campaign to get their peers talking about mental health.
The campaign is called “Know The Signs.” It’s in reference to 5 signs that may mean someone is in emotional pain and needs help. Which are personality change, agitation, withdrawal, poor self-care, hopelessness.
“Our job has been to change the conversation surrounding mental health on BYU campus, says Ashley Frost, one of the senior running the campaign.
Of the 700 students Frost's team surveyed, 99 percent know someone who have struggled with their mental health and two thirds have struggled personally.
Frost says the majority of students surveyed want to talk about mental health but find it difficult. She thinks part of that might be due to a perfectionist mentality on campus. And, as a primarily Mormon student body, the misconception that faith should cancel out emotional pain.
“In our culture we think if we were a better Christian," says Frost. "If we believed more in Christ, if we went to church more, if we did all these things better we wouldn’t have mental health struggles. And that is not the case.”
As part of the campaign, Frost and her team have been very active on social media, they’ve manned a booth on campus, brought therapy dogs to the library, presented in classes.
They even created a Family Home Evening lesson plan based on the 5 signs for students to use in their LDS congregations.
Throughout it all, one thing has constantly surprised Frost, “How willing people were to open up when they had the opportunity.”
The campaign ends this week. But Frost hopes the conversation has just begun.