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Tuesday, August 09, 2022

GatorWell and the UF Counseling and Wellness Center are attempting to erase stigmas surrounding mental health issues at UF. 

The UF student health organizations released the Fall 2014 designs for UFlourish, a social marketing campaign collaboration, and this semester they’re targeting the LGBTQ and black student communities.

This is the first time the campaign is targeting specific student populations after launching in Spring 2013.

The campaign’s main goals are to remove stigmas surrounding mental health issues and encourage students to use strategies to prevent mental illnesses, said Dr. Maureen Miller, director of GatorWell.

“With the first campaign, it was very broad, appealing to all students,” Miller said.

“Now we’re looking at specific student populations that may be more at risk for stress issues.”

The marketing campaign, which encourages students to “Keep it Real” with friends and “Just Ask” for help, is being funded by a $296,000 federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The grant also supports the CWC’s online programs designed to address suicide prevention on campus, Miller said.

The campaign designs focus on LGBTQ and black student communities to promote using inclusive language when speaking about mental health issues.

“It’s probably more effective than a broader scope,” said Marcy Maycock, an 18-year-old UF health science freshman. 

Maycock has never been to the Counseling and Wellness Center but said she has considered it and recommended it to friends before.

UFlourish aims to remind students that many resources are available to them through GatorWell and the CWC, Miller said.

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“I don’t have any needs for counseling, but if I did I’d look into it,” said Rachel Kraskow, an 18-year-old exploratory freshman at UF.

According to the 2013 Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors’ annual survey, 46.2 percent of students experience anxiety, and 39.3 percent of students struggle with depression.

Miller said the next phase of the UFlourish campaign is to expand and include even more specific student populations.

“We’re trying to reach as many different students through as many different channels as we can,” she said.

[A version of this story ran on page 8 on 9/30/2014]

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