Ending Stigma with Sunflowers: Project Hope

Students grow sunflowers in Wilson greenhouse Photo provided by Danniele Fulmer

Students grow sunflowers in Wilson greenhouse

Photo provided by Danniele Fulmer

On May 9  from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., the Psychology Club will be sponsoring a campus wide sunflower planting event in conjunction with the counseling center and Fulton Farm. The theme of this event is hope, in all its forms, along with raising awareness for depression and mental illness in general. There are over 350 million people in the world that suffer from a form  of mental illness that avoid seeking out help due to stigma. The overarching purpose of this event is to abolish stigma and to promote hope, through the symbolic action of planting sunflowers. It will be a day for celebration and support across campus.

The sunflower planting  is one of the first big events sponsored by the newly established  Psychology Club, which had been inactiveuntil the Spring 2014 semester. The main purpose of the club is to provide members with outlets to explore careers within Psychology, while also hosting events and activities to raise awareness. For this reason, the club chose  Project Hope, to extend the boundaries of their club mission statement to include the goal of reducing the stigma that is commonly associated with mental illness.

The idea for Project Hope was originally found through iFred, which stands for the International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression, which sponsors sunflower gardening and a variety of other related activities and services to raise awareness of depression.  Sunflowers are most frequently used since  they stand for hope for combatting stigma. The main goal of iFred is to eliminate stigma by creating a new perception of depression that is not addled with negativity. Project Hope is one step that iFred has taken in accomplishing this objective. The Wilson College Psychology Club has taken this goal into their own hands in order to address mental illness awareness on our very own campus.

Jamie Burnett ‘17,  co-president of Wilson’s Psychology Club, elaborated on the importance of Project Hope by saying,  “We wanted to plant sunflowers on our campus to spread awareness. The stress associated with college can lead to many psychological difficulties and we want our Wilson community to know that none of them are alone.”  With the help of students and faculty across campus, this event is sure to be a memorable one. Join the psychology club in their efforts to eliminate stigma in the pursuit of hope.



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