Welcome to our special section, Thrive on Campus, devoted to covering the urgent issue of mental health among college and university students from all angles. If you are a college student, we invite you to apply to be an Editor-at-Large, or to simply contribute (please tag your pieces ThriveOnCampus). We welcome faculty, clinicians, and graduates to contribute as well. Read more here.

We all have a belief that we live in a world full of happiness and acceptance; however that belief of prosperity is false. Behind the curtain of beauty in our world lies a much darker reality, a reality where people fall victim to their own existence and lead themselves to a path of suffering. Is this truly what our civilization has become?  Is this the destiny for most of humanity? 

According to the World Health Organization, 1 in every 4 people go through a type of mental illness at some point in their life. They are consumed by their isolation and non-acceptance by others which lead them to develop mental health conditions. Adolescents in particular, develop these mental health conditions while they are young and vulnerable; due mainly to isolation from the rest of society. They have nobody to talk to, nobody who feels their suffering inside, and nobody who understands who they truly are.

How is this epidemic going to be stopped? 

Mental health is a struggle for individuals all around the world, and modern treatments are not as effective as you may imagine; 35-40% of people who are being treated with these traditional methods receive relatively no benefits, and a shocking 5-10% get worse. While that number may seem small, that accounts to 4.6 million people that are feeling helpless and alone. Since no current treatment can control this epidemic and provide real support, something new has to be implemented. A fresh start, and a new beginning. 

ShoulderMe is an application that strives to provide an opportunity for people dealing with their own individual obstacles ranging from medical to personal and will to have an open space to communicate with others who are dealing with a similar dilemma themselves. This would be done by allowing individuals to create an account on the app where they would input their current trouble  and would be matched with into a chat room with ten people who have selected the same or similar categories, and at that point a dialogue would begin between the users in the chat. This application when boiled to its core is a digital support group for all people from all walks of life, with different life predicaments, to come together and vent out their frustrations. In turn, showing that they are not alone any more and there are people dealing with the same situation, removing that feeling of isolation. 

How is this application going to change anything? 

The main element of the application, the group chat element, is effective in solving people’s personal plights. Group therapy is more effective at allowing people to express their frustrations and quelling isolation than individualized therapy due to the six advantages group therapy provides according to the Student Health and Counseling Services: “You are not alone. Groups provide support and make you realize that other students experience similar challenges. Groups provide a sounding board. Groups can offer a different perspective. Groups can propel you forward. Groups promote social skills. Groups are not limited. Groups teach you about yourself.” Group counseling would provide a sense of family and community for those who feel that the outside world has neglected them.

According to an article by Grace Recovery “Group therapy has the ability to create a sense of community among people on the same journey.” Group counseling whether it be online chat rooms or people present with each other in group sessions who are alike deliver more effective and personal benefits to an individual suffering from mental health issues.  

ShoulderMe has the ability to change the way we view others, the way we view ourselves. It shows that isolation and self pity are not the answer to our life’s challenges; that holding in those feelings and bottling them up from the outside world deal more harm than good. ShoulderMe can end this epidemic that we call mental health. You no longer have to hide in the shadows of shame and isolation, through ShoulderMe you are seen and valued by all. 

Mental illness is not a choice, but recovery is 

In life, challenges are going to be at every turn. That is just a fact of life that we all must live through daily. However, what really matters during those challenges are how you as an individual respond to them. ShoulderMe is providing an outlet where people have a place to bounce back from their dilemmas and face mental health straight on. ShoulderMe gives a voice to the voiceless, a home to the isolated, and a chance for all. If ShoulderMe can save one person, then it has accomplished its purpose. 

If you would like to know more about the issue we are trying to combat, read more here

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More Thrive Global on Campus:

What Campus Mental Health Centers Are Doing to Keep Up With Student Need

If You’re a Student Who’s Struggling With Mental Health, These 7 Tips Will Help

The Hidden Stress of RAs in the Student Mental Health Crisis