This past year I served as the Health and Wellness Chair, a position that my chapter created to better serve the mental and physical wellbeing of our members. As someone who has personally experienced the effects of mental health struggles, I aim to use my position to educate my sisters on how they can best care for their own mental wellbeing and the wellbeing of others.
Last fall, our campus experienced two suicides, one occurring in the middle of recruitment weekend. This came as a complete shock to our campus community, but especially the potential new members who were going through formal recruitment. I lost my dad to suicide in 2017, and wanted to use my experience with suicide loss to support the members of my chapter. Our campus provides access to mental health resources, but I wanted to do something specific for the Greek community, especially because the first suicide happened at an important time in our formal recruitment process.
I sought out a speaker from Active Minds to come and present to my chapter and found Colleen Coffey, a mental health advocate who specializes in sorority and fraternity life. Colleen offers a presentation called "My Sister, My Brother, My Keeper," which focuses on providing chapters with the tools they need to create a stigma-free environment. Through sharing her story, interacting with our chapter, and providing educational materials on mental health, Colleen gave us the tools to be more transparent, honest, and caring in our relationships with one another. Our chapter found her presentation to be very inspiring!
Colleen has accomplished so much in her professional life and her resilience is reflected in how she interacted with our chapter and how she shared her experiences. Her traits lined up with the values of a leading woman, which was exactly what I wanted to show my chapter: you can still be a strong, leading woman regardless of your struggles. The members of Eta Omega are exceptionally caring and empathetic, and on campus we are known for being a closely-knit chapter. I am immensely proud of Eta Omega for putting our members’ wellbeing first, and I believe this mental health presentation will further develop how we can best care for and support each other.
Applying for a Theta Foundation grant to fund this mental health presentation was intimidating at first, but the application was straightforward and easy to complete. If I had any questions, the contact at Theta headquarters was easily accessible and so helpful. This was my first time applying for a grant and I learned a lot about how to write a clear, concise application, which will help me in the future with my career goals in nonprofit work.
Theta Foundation’s 2022-2023 Chapter & Individual Grant applications are now available! College and alumnae chapters and individual Thetas are eligible to apply for grant funding to pursue non-degree educational, leadership, and service-learning opportunities. You can find more information on the Apply for Scholarships & Grants page.