CPNP Student Chapter President 2017-2018
SIUE School of Pharmacy
Misty Gonzalez, PharmD, BCPP
Clinical Associate Professor
SIUE School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacy Practice
At the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) School of Pharmacy, the CPNP student chapter may be small but its reach is great. With just 12 student members, the CPNP student chapter at SIUE is able to make a big impact in the lives of our student body, patients living with mental illnesses in the community, as well as raise awareness surrounding mental health and psychiatric disorders. Throughout the year, this chapter provides information on smoking cessation, substance use/overdose, and alcohol use, provides depression screenings and stress relief/mindfulness activities, and collaborates with other organizations on campus to participate in suicide prevention events.
SIUE is the recipient of a SAMHSA Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention Grant. As a result, the SIUE CPNP student chapter has been active with many of the suicide prevention initiatives on campus. Most notably, the SIUE CPNP student chapter partnered with Active Minds to participate in Fresh Check day on campus.This is an all-day event set up on for the entire university campus that allows for further education and resources to be provided to students surrounding mental health wellness. During this event, CPNP SIUE helped host the “Messages of Hope” booth where students were encouraged to write a message they wanted to give someone that has a mental health issue, mental illness, or thoughts of suicide. These messages were then put on a poster board for everyone to see (photo below). The purpose of the “Messages of Hope” booth was to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and to come together as a campus community to show support for any students that may be struggling or experiencing a mental health issue. Hundreds of students came over to the “Messages of Hope” booth to write their message of hope, to receive more information on suicide prevention such as local and national crisis hotline numbers, and/or to learn more about a pharmacist’s role in mental health.
Whether it was to participate in the activity or just to stop by and read the messages, this event showed how much students on the SIUE campus value mental health and want to support each other. When the event was over, the two poster boards were completely covered with hopeful messages. One poster board was given to SIUE Counseling Services and put in their lobby. The other poster board was taken back to the SIUE School of Pharmacy and put in the pharmacy student break-room. Having these posted on campus reiterated the positive and hopeful messages that were shown during the Fresh Check day event.
With this event, CPNP, other organizations, and the students on the SIUE campus were able to actively participate in addressing topics surrounding mental health, such as suicide prevention, stress relief/mindfulness, positive body image, and stigma. After experiencing the “Messages of Hope” booth, chapter members are hopeful that students will continue to relay these messages to their peers, continue to raise awareness, and reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness.