The Change Direction campaign will be effective so long as its principles are shared with students by schools, classes, and youth organizations. I think the benefit of these resources can only be had if there is effort put into getting its message to young people. In the “about” section of the campaign site, it says that many private sector companies and nonprofits are sharing this information about mental health, to reduce the stigma surrounding it. A strength of the program is that it discusses the “5 Signs” of emotional suffering: personality change, agitation, withdrawal, decline in personal care, and hopelessness. These are all important markers to look out for, as these changes from what is deemed normal behavior can actually indicate a serious emotional issue, even we react passively to them. What it would take for the campaign to be effective would be if it is able to make this information known to young people so that they will remember these things when they start to notice change in themselves or in others. Another strength to the campaign is that it has the support of major companies associated with health, social work, and psychology.
The difficulty in successfully implementing the Change Direction initiative is getting students to listen. I believe at the high school level and below it will be very hard to get a good response from students. At the college level, I believe it would be far better received, as every college student is bound to be under incredible stress, whether it’s because they’re away from home, struggling to make friends, or crumbling under immensely challenging coursework. At Elizabethtown, I strongly believe an awareness campaign would be taken seriously by students and publicized well. To go about this, I think flyers are the simplest way of reaching students. However, I think the most profound method would be for professors to bring up things like mental health and the 5 Signs to students, as they are mostly already inclined to give their professor their full attention. Most of all, I think it’s important to stress the availability of Etown’s counseling services. Etown has great resources for anyone struggling with mental health or anyone trying to help a friend.