Well in advance of “Mental Health Month” in May, this week at Utah State University Tuesday through Thursday the Access and Diversity Center is presenting workshops Wednesday and a Mental Health Fair Thursday.
A Tuesday night keynote talk features Alexis Jones, a motivational speaker who works one-on-one with young girls to build confidence and self-esteem. While in college at USC she created an empowerment/non-profit organization for young girls called I Am That Girl. She also appeared on a season of the CBS reality show “Survivor.”
“I Am That Girl is kind of a cool girl scouts for college girls,” she said. “The whole thing is based on building a community for girls both on and off line. We bring girls together once a week to have conversations about things that matter.
“It started because as girls we realized we had a lot of conversations about things that don’t matter. But for me it was how do we talk about things that really are affecting girls every day: our self esteem, our confidence and our relationships, not only with ourselves but with others. These are things girls are challenged with every day in a society that is constantly telling them they are not good enough.”
Jones said I Am That Girl has established 155 chapters, including one at USU, in 27 countries.
She is concerned about the role of social media on the entire discussion.
“The scary thing about social media is that we’re air brushing our lives now because when you click on someone’s profile all you see is a highlight reel of all of the amazing things going on in their life. It’s really easy to look at other people’s world through this lens of social media and feel that your life isn’t good enough.”
She said this is a generation that is consuming on average 10 hours of media a day, and a lot of it is social media.
“When you see what is going on you can understand why their expectations for what they think their life should be, is so dramatically different than what it really is. I think it’s in that discrepancy that so many people are struggling with feeling enough.”
She will present her thoughts under the title “#Be Brave: dreams, love and living radically” Tuesday night, 6-7:30, in the Taggart Student Center ballroom.
Wednesday in the Merrill-Cazier Library includes workshops to promote mental health and the Mental Health Fair is Thursday in the Sunburst Lounge of the Taggart Student Center.