ASG, student groups launch Greater Than mental health campaign


Source: Screenshot

A new mental health campaign, Greater Than, features students holding signs saying they are greater than their mental illnesses. The campaign, which is sponsored by Associated Student Government and several student groups, launched Monday.

Sophia Bollag, Copy Chief

More than a dozen students are featured in Greater Than, a new mental health awareness campaign at Northwestern that launched Monday as part of a collaboration between several different student groups.

The campaign represents the latest step in the mental health initiative, Free Your Mind, a collaboration among student organizations including Associated Student Government, NU Active Minds, NU Listens and Panhellenic Association. Greater Than comprises photographs of students holding signs listing traits or accomplishments they are proud of and the statement that they are “greater than” their mental health problems.

The photographs are featured on the Free Your Mind website, which also includes links to resources on campus similar to those provided by the University website NUhelp and a calendar of mental health-related events. The photographs from the campaign will be also be posted around campus.

ASG spokeswoman Julia Watson, who helped organize the Greater Than campaign and helped design the Free Your Mind website, said she is pleased with the number of submissions the group has received so far.

“We’re hoping to get some more, but the submissions are great so far,” the Weinberg junior said. “I’m really proud of everyone who’s done it.”

Representatives from ASG are visiting fraternities and sororities this week to raise awareness for the campaign and the Stigma Panel, an NU Active Minds event scheduled for Wednesday during which student panelists will speak about their experiences with mental illness. Watson said representatives are also planning to visit residential halls, residential colleges and student groups to encourage people to participate in the campaign.

NU Active Minds co-president Naina Desai appears in the campaign holding a sign saying “I spent my summer fighting for marriage equality and I am greater than my fear of trusting others.” As one of the organizers of the campaign encouraging people to submit their photos, the Weinberg senior said she would have felt “hypocritical” if she had not been brave enough to participate herself.

She said she thinks the campaign helps accomplish the campaign’s Fall Quarter theme of “reducing stigma.”

“You see their faces. You know they’re real people,” Desai said. “They’re a normal student just like me.”

The Free Your Mind initiative will launch a different campaign each quarter. In Winter Quarter the theme will be “getting help” and in Spring Quarter it will be “supporting others,” Watson said.

ASG president Ani Ajith said the campaign is intended to foster a better understanding of mental health on campus.

“Greater Than is about reducing stigma,” the Weinberg senior and former Daily staffer said. “It’s about showing people they’re not alone.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @SophiaBollag