Meet Your Mental Health & Thriving Community Health Organizers
Mental health and stress management are issues USC students Timothy Yeh and Sabrina Rivas and their peers personally grapple with on a daily basis.
“A lot of my close friends have had issues with mental health, and it’s a part of our health we often overlook,” said Yeh, a Master of Public Diplomacy candidate and one-half of the mental health and thriving community health organizer team.
Rivas, a communications junior, says that she sees many students struggle in silence:
“It’s the environment and culture that perpetuates a notion that your mental health doesn’t matter. It’s a combination of the amount of schoolwork, the academically competitive culture, and the image that everything is fine and we’re all having fun that pushes issues under the rug.”
Rivas and Yeh will talk to various student communities to find out what aspects of life at USC are helpful and harmful towards their ability to thrive. This information will give them qualitative data to supplement and better understand the quantitative data already gathered from research like the 2018 USC Healthy Minds Survey.
After mining data from that survey, for example, Rivas and Yeh saw that some USC student communities reported higher levels of resilience and positive mental health than others.
“We want to understand why,” says Yeh, who practices meditation and aromatherapy to support his own mental well-being. “What are the resources in these communities, and how can we replicate that for other communities?”
The pair plans to hold information-gathering sessions with members of the LGBTQ+ community, African American students, international students, and a number of other student groups over the next two semesters.
“I wanted to get involved to make sure students feel their voices are being heard and that the school cares about them,” Rivas said. “Students need to feel supported and that their institution wants to help them succeed and thrive. Hopefully, this program will enact changes that will improve the experience for all students at USC.”
Yeh is equally passionate about helping students thrive and be their best selves at USC.
“We are so blessed at USC to have such a large, diverse student body,” he said. “But if we want to collectively improve, we have to ensure that every community is thriving, and we are supporting all members of our community.”