Written by Do Good Ambassador Shivani Shah
Thirty-nine percent of college students experience a significant mental health issue and two-thirds of students with anxiety or depression don’t seek treatment(1). Every year, our generation gets closer to breaking the stigma around mental illness; however, it is safe to say that there are many still suffering in silence.
When Evolving Mind’s Founder Anthony Sartori ('18) was a freshman, he found himself overwhelmed with anxious and fearful thought patterns. In an effort to break this unhealthy cycle, he slowly began to prioritize his mental health and take care of himself. In doing so, he found a huge disconnect. “I noticed that self-care and caring about others wasn't really a priority on campus,” he says.
To combat this, Anthony and his fellow College Park Scholars founded Scholars Promoting and Revitalizing Care (SPARC) in 2015. In February of 2018, the group launched a campus-wide campaign called “30 Days Too Late,” which raised awareness about the need for increased accessibility to mental health resources on UMD’s campus. The campaign permeated throughout campus and was able to create lasting impact for students. Following the campaign, University of Maryland committed to hiring additional counselors and is continuing to provide more mental health first aid resources as the result of SPARC’s campaign.
Although SPARC was born as a college passion project, Anthony has not let graduation slow down his efforts in combating the mental health challenges faced by today's youth. In fact, he is only getting started. In 2019, he founded Evolving Minds, an organization on a mission to empower communities to create a culture of care.
Anthony was selected as the Do Good Institute’s most recent Scale Your Impact member and will be working to address mental health inequity through a number of programs. Evolving Minds recognizes that inequalities in mental health resources invariably affect minority populations, and they are here to do something about it. Currently, the organization is piloting a program within Baltimore City public school that trains social workers, school psychologists, and teachers on 10 resilience-based practices and how they can bring these practices into their lives, whether in meetings or the classroom. These practices include paced breathing, mindful walking, and gratitude letters.
To date, the program has received great feedback as an empowering program that is adaptable to most environments, whether applied in corporations or classrooms. Evolving Minds is also working with Baltimore Polytechnic Institute to pilot a program and help facilitate “peer mindfulness educators', or in other words, students helping students. Together, in this program, students are equipped with the knowledge and tools to shift their school’s culture toward care.
As a Scale Your Impact member, Satori will receive customized support and financial resources to extend Evolving Mind’s reach and create a larger social impact. Read more about Scale Your Impact here.
(1)Statistics cited from Active Minds: https://www.activeminds.org/about-mental-health/statistics/