Students With Schizophrenia will have outreach opportunities for college clubs, partnered organizations, and independent events. In the Fall Semester 2017, Pennsylvania State University launched the first Students With Schizophrenia Chapter. This club served as a prototype for future university clubs. What we learned from our prototype club was that it is equally important that the club format should be both a support group and an activist team.
SUPPORT GROUP: Students With Schizophrenia university clubs should meet once a week for the duration of one hour per meeting. The first 30 minutes should be focused on the support group part of the meeting. During that time, the members can partake in support group like activities, play games, do artwork, and/or open up about their personal life and experiences. It is important that during this support group session of the club meeting that members can bond and feel like they are in a safe place of listening and no judgement. It is important for members to understand that anything shared during this part of the meeting remains confidential and stays within the meeting. Also, it should be understood that the support group session of the club does not take the place of seeing a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, and/or therapist. With that said, each club should have a list of local psychiatric facilities and resources for their members. Example support group activities and more detailed instructions will be posted to this website very soon. Get excited!
ACTIVIST TEAM: For the second half of the meeting for the duration of 30 minutes, it should be focused on the activist team portion. The Students With Schizophrenia university club should have a standard exec board format with a club president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and historian. The activist team should work together on organizing an activity once a month open to the public/or fellow students and university faculty. For example, the club can organize an event where they host a movie night and discussion on the film “A Beautiful Mind.” The activist team should also plan fundraisers that both raise funds for their club chapter and also a percentage for the overall nonprofit, Students With Schizophrenia. More detailed examples of outreach events and fundraisers will be posted to this site. Hang on tight, because we are just getting started!
STUDENT INTERNSHIPS: College students from collaborating universities can even attain college research credit for their participation with Students With Schizophrenia. In addition to their internship, interning students would be required to attend a certain amount of club meetings and club events. Not only would this increase participation but also increase the amount of ally students in the club so that a student’s participation with the organization does not reveal whether or not in fact they have schizophrenia. Whether or not a person is open about having schizophrenia is a very personal decision, and no member of a Students With Schizophrenia chapter should feel pressured in making. Offering an internship program at universities will open the door to that university’s students to not only make an impact on their university and local community but also on a global scale as apart of the Students With Schizophrenia team.
CAN I FOUND A CLUB AT MY UNIVERSITY? At this time, Students With Schizophrenia clubs are still in prototype mode. We are currently writing internship curriculum and handbooks for the clubs. If you are a university faculty member or mental health professional and would like to help participate in writing the curriculum and handbooks, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if you are a student or faculty member interested in founding a club at your university, please feel free to contact us as well at the same email. Students With Schizophrenia is looking for a few more schools to test our prototype model at. Launching clubs globally will take place for the academic semester of Fall 2019. We at Students With Schizophrenia are so excited to expand into universities globally. Together, we can change the face of schizophrenia and battle against the negative stigma surrounding mental illness one university at a time.