Project: Immigrants tend to have an extremely difficult time accessing resources in regard to their mental health. Most times, this is due to the language barrier and common cultural taboo about discussing traumatic topics that have negatively impacted their mental wellness. I want to find a way to make these resources more accessible to the immigrant community by analyzing surveys, finding local English learning classes, and communicating more information about mental health to immigrant communities.
Inspiration: I come from a family of immigrants and I admire the sacrifices they make to build a life in the U.S. so their children can attend better schools and have larger accessibility to resources and opportunities, in comparison to what they might have had in their country of origin. The difficulties of securing jobs and houses, facing cultural and language barriers, and accessing services are not easy tasks to face, it is inspiring to me that my family and others have overcome those (and more) challenges.
Future Plans: I hope to make living in America a bit easier for immigrants. It can be uncomfortable living in a community where you feel as if you do not belong, it should not be that way and by providing resources I think it would make it slightly easier to settle into their communities.
Project: Providing access to mental health services for undocumented Latinx college students.
Inspiration: I have personally seen and experienced the lack of access Latinx communities have towards mental health services. But once I got to college I realized that undocumented Latinx college students face different struggles that affect their mental health differently. This becomes a large issue when they don’t have the resources to take care of their mental health. I was inspired to create my Puksta project because I saw that my community was lacking an important resource.
Future Plans: I hope to create and provide mental health services that are more culturally aware for undocumented students on campus and therefore, improve the healths of undocumented Latinx students.
Major: Economics and Political Science
Project: My Puksta Project has evolved from the more general desire to address mental health within African Communities to utilizing youth community engagement to bring awareness to mental health. Furthermore, I intend to use an artistic lens to discuss the topic of mental health by using it as a tool and mechanism for the youth within these African communities to better understand their needs and hopefully find a more meaningful way of meeting them. I hope to achieve this by first designing workshops that allow the members of these communities (with a particular focus on youth) to learn more about mental health as well as how to use art as an expressive outlet. My passion for art has intertwined with my passion for mental health and I hope to unite the two as one to offer my community and other African communities a new perspective on mental health and the power of art as an act of self-care and even self-discovery.
Inspiration: After having lost a friend and member of my community to suicide, I realized that the entire situation seemed almost foreign to a number of my friends and family. I want to create awareness within the African community of the reality and the seriousness of mental health as well as the services available that aid in preventing suicide.
Future Plans for Project: I would like to see more African communities open to conversations about mental health and utilizing the services provided that address it.
Project: I am conducting research on the various mental health policies that effect incarcerated people and ways to reform policy. Prison environments promote unhealthy behavior and recidivism rates that affect all communities. I hope to promote mental health awareness and provide incarcerated people with more opportunities to improve their livelihoods.
Inspiration: I want to debunk the many myths people have about mental illness and address the reasons why it is a serious topic that society needs to inform people about.
Future Plans for Project: Provide an outlet for people with mental illnesses to have a voice and advocate for themselves without fear of receiving judgment from others, but to also make mental health a more talked about topic by those who don’t experience the struggles that those with mental health issues face everyday.