A side profile graphic with labels for each of the clubs focuses
Graphic for the New Mental Health Club on campus, MIND

Bailey Maierson ’25 (She/Her), Staff Writer

A nationwide pandemic. Online classes. Students spiraling. 

In the face of such chaos, two sophomores created Davidson’s first mental health club on campus, Minds Do Matter. 

Annabelle Ross ‘24 and Cece Woo ‘24 were compelled to start the mental health advocacy club after learning how overbooked the on-campus counselors are. Since there are currently only six counselors, one of their first tasks was emailing Dean McCrae about increasing the number of counselors on campus.

“Having to wait two weeks to meet with a counselor is not feasible for students, yet paying an outside counselor is also not financially feasible for many students,” Woo said. “[The students] end up having to choose between financial security and their literal well-being.”

Director of Student Health and Well-Being Dr. David Graham is the faculty advisor of Minds Do Matter. As advisor, Graham will meet with the executive board of the club and work to program campus initiatives focusing on Mental Health Awareness. 

The club’s three big goals—education, awareness or advocacy, and support—will guide Graham, Woo, and Ross as they work to change the course of mental health on campus.

To jumpstart Minds Do Matter, Ross and Woo took to surveying students about what they wish to see in the club as it progresses. So far, the two have created a student training series—how mental health is viewed in different cultures and immigrant families, how to support a friend in crisis, how to deal with mental health and eating houses, sororities, and fraternities—as a means of fostering discussions. 

“It’s really important to view mental health in the context of a lot of different identities and communities, so within Greek life, athletic teams, ethnic communities, and various gender sexual identities,” Woo said. 

Minds Do Matter has future plans to collaborate with the Mental Health Ambassadors and counseling department to make resources more available to students. 

“Unless [a student] signs up for an appointment, [they] don’t really know who the counselors are or what happens in a therapy session, especially if it is [a student’s] first time going to one,” Ross said. 

Alexis Fintchre, Counselor and Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Outreach, works with the six sophomore Mental Health Ambassadors. 

Fintchre explained the training timeline of the ambassadors. 

“In October, the ambassadors will have training in suicide prevention and become certified peer educatiors,” Fintchre said. In the spring, ambassadors will carry out counseling initiatives, programming, and projects, ranging from stress management and resiliency to talking about healthy interpersonal relationships, disordered eating, and anxiety reduction strategies.”

As a counselor, Fintchre mentioned how critical it is that students participate and engage with the content that will be presented, whether it be in classrooms and friend groups or taking this information back home to their families.

“I’m hoping this doesn’t just stay on campus, but [that] it’s able to be continued talking points for people that might not have a lot of experience talking about their own health and well-being,” Fintchre said.

According to Active Minds, a non-profit focused on mental health issues, 39% of students in college experience a significant mental health issue, and 67% of people between 18-24 do not seek treatment for anxiety or depression. Graham explains that Minds Do Matter offers students a transformative space to speak freely about their health. 

Though the club could not be showcased in the fall, students can keep an eye out for it at the spring activities fair.

“Annabelle and Cece starting this club sends a strong message to students that we all have a role to play in enhancing the well-being of students on campus,” Graham stated.