DMAX Clubs on College Campuses
DMAX Foundation is a developing non-profit organization in Philadelphia, PA. Its mission is to eliminate stigma and encourage safe and caring conversations about mental and emotional issues in our youth, particularly in colleges. DMAX addresses a significant unmet need on college campuses where those suffering from mental health issues often can’t or don’t seek counseling services because of stigma overcrowding and lack of resources, often leading to tragic results. Research shows that 34.2%-50% of college students with mental health conditions don’t talk about it or use college mental health services.
DMAX has developed an innovative solution and a rigorous, replicable model for student-led, advisor-supported, mental health related social “DMAX Clubs”. DMAX Clubs encourage students to talk about how they’re doing, how their friends are doing and how they can help each other.
DMAX Clubs are for all students who are concerned with mental issues and college related stress for themselves or others. DMAX Clubs foster Conversations That Matter, fun, food and activities related to mental health providing alternative paths for students to get the help they need.
DMAX has completed its first successful pilot at Elon University and will rapidly expand this innovative program to four-six Pennsylvania universities by 2018.
DMAX Foundation is creative and resourceful in tackling a serious unmet need related to mental health on college campuses via its DMAX Clubs - a breakthrough concept that isn’t being done elsewhere. DMAX has developed a new innovative model, programming and an approach for clubs that:
o Establishes a comfortable, trusting environment for students to share their emotional struggles and help each other, thus breaking the silence that can lead to tragic results
o Includes guidelines for referrals to professional help when needed
o Is inclusive for all students, not only those suffering from mental illness
o Is based on conversations, fun, food and activities to attract and help more students.
o Uses two comprehensive proprietary manuals developed by DMAX to enable students to start and operate a DMAX Club
DMAX has gained the support of university administrators and counseling centers and positive feedback on its innovative approach.
DMAX Foundation identified a problem and developed a solution to mental health challenges on college campuses. DMAX Clubs are an innovative model which is readily emulated at colleges nationwide to help curtail tragic consequences resulting when students don’t get the help they need.
DMAX is a grassroots organization with limited resources that has quickly accomplished significant milestone and tasks, including:
•Created and implemented its novel approach to a difficult problem
•Developed an innovative model
•Developed proprietary student leader manuals
•Recruited student leaders and members
•Gained university administration and counseling center support
•Established and implemented the first club
•Developed a plan for growth
•Raised the necessary financial resources through grassroots fundraising
DMAX has raised significant awareness on college campuses through communication about our mission and goals through creative information dissemination including:
•Annual educational and social events
•Press releases, news articles
•Presentation at mental wellness symposium, networking events and colleges
DMAX has created a sustainable model to ensure continuation and growth of DMAX Clubs on university campuses through:
•The replicable DMAX Club model and manuals
•Established credibility among students and counseling centers
•Student led recruitment efforts and counseling center support
DMAX support and resources are provided to start up and establish a DMAX Club’s initial operations. Over time, DMAX resources will decline as student leaders run and sustain the club with university and counseling center support and training. After year one, a club will use student led fundraising activities and university financial assistance to run itself. The Foundation will provide advice and guidance with little need for financial backing.
DMAX Foundation is requesting funding for the upfront costs to establish new clubs on additional campuses. Our model enables DMAX Foundation to use those funds to create self-sustaining DMAX Clubs, and limit the need for an ever increasing pool of resources.
The DMAX Club model for college campuses is easily replicable and transferrable across the nation and is set forth in two DMAX Foundation manuals:
•How to Start and Operate a DMAX Club
•Tips Topics and Tactics
The model also uses best practices from DMAX Foundation’s White Paper “Best Practices and What is a DMAX Club”. Counseling Center involvement guidelines are defined in the Counseling Center Training Agreement. Students and counseling center staff use the material provided by the Foundation to establish, run and build their DMAX Club.
DMAX Foundation staff are available to respond to questions and needs, to educate student leaders, and to discuss responsibilities with counseling center staff. To ease implementation, the DMAX Foundation student internship program directs interns to create a DMAX Club on their campus. Interns also serve as ambassadors to build awareness about DMAX Foundation and generate interest in DMAX Clubs on other campuses.
DMAX has completed its first successful pilot at Elon University with significant enrollment and weekly meetings since its inception in spring 2016. The University Counseling Center liaison reported that the Club:
•Has provided a structured environment fostering acceptance, validation, safety, community, and a place to talk candidly
•Exceeded counseling center expectations for membership
•Is here to stay and grow
•Has attracted students committed to its mission and growth
In an evaluation conducted with members of Elon’s DMAX Club, over 70% said the DMAX Club:
•Is very important to their self-esteem,
•Enables them to talk about things previously kept inside
•Helps them realize they’re are not alone in feelings of emotional distress
•Provides them increased comfort about being at school
•Increases knowledge about helping others in a mental health crisis
The DMAX Foundation is looking to rapidly expand on this success to establish four-six clubs in Pennsylvania through 2018.
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