Oluwadamilola Akintewe, a Chegg.org Global Student Prize 2021 top 10 finalist from Nigeria, will play a key role in the inaugural Student Mental Health Week, it was announced today. She is a founder of Forbidden Topics, a Facebook platform aiming to break the silence on social injustices such as sexual assault and give women a voice in the community. She has also launched programs in her home state, Ondo, such as LetGirlsLead, which provides mentorship and support for secondary school girls, and Project Rebirth, using entrepreneurial action to deliver financial equality and inclusion for low-income women in the state.
The inaugural global initiative, taking place February 6-12, 2023, is being organized by Chegg, the leading student-first online learning company, in collaboration with five esteemed non-profits: Born This Way Foundation, launched and led by Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, which supports youth mental health; the Jed Foundation (JED), which protects emotional wellbeing and prevents suicide for teens and young adults; the Inspiring Children Foundation, co-chaired by American singer-songwriter Jewel, which runs programs to nurture young people’s mental, emotional, and physical health; Young Invincibles, which leads advocacy efforts centered on improving the lives of young adults and increasing their access to mental health services; and the Varkey Foundation, which looks to improve the quality education for every child by building the status of teachers around the world.
During the week, Oluwadamilola and her team at the Forbidden Topics initiative will launch a series of videos centered around student mental health, posted on Forbidden Topics’ Instagram account. Through these videos, Oluwadamilola will encourage Nigerian students to have open conversations about their mental health, and share their experiences and accessible resources.
Chegg.org Global Student Prize 2021 top 10 finalist Oluwadamilola Akintewe said, “Thank you to Chegg and everyone involved in creating this campaign. Forbidden Topics has always been about giving young people a voice, and encouraging them to seek help when they need it. We are proud to be taking part in the inaugural Student Mental Health Week, and hope to help create a safe space for students to discuss their mental health.”
“We are proud to launch Student Mental Health Week, and hope to put this issue right at the top of the policy agenda,” said Dan Rosensweig, CEO and President of Chegg. “Students around the world face a perfect storm of different challenges – from learning in the aftermath of the pandemic, rising debt levels,1 and now global economic uncertainity.2 Through this campaign, we want to continue our commitment to holistically supporting students, so that they can make the most of their education, their relationships, and their ability to face the future with confidence.”
The global campaign seeks to destigmatize mental health among students, encourage young people to be intentional about looking after themselves, and inspire conversations around what policymakers, education institutions, the wider community, parents, and learners themselves can do to support student mental wellness.
Activities kicking off during the week of February 6-12, 2023:
- Chegg, for the very first time, will bring together the mental health resources of these five collaboration partners, including simple tips to improve mental wellness, under a centralized online resource, and signpost the support available to its millions of students worldwide, via a new Student Mental Health Week website.
- Student Mental Health Week will encompass a variety of events, including social media live events, to help educate policymakers, educational institutions, and communities on the mental health challenges students now face.
- The Jed foundation will co-host a 30-minute Q&A on Instagram Live to discuss current mental health challenges among students, how they can reach out for help, how they can give help to a friend, and where they can go to get more support.
- Finalists of the Chegg.org $100,000 Global Student Prize will be asked to share how they look after their mental wellness, which resources they turn to for support, facts about student mental health in their country, and projects they are involved with on the ground.
- Finalists of the $1 million Global Teacher Prize will highlight how they have seen mental health impact their students and offer advice to their fellow teachers on supporting young people’s mental wellness.
- Chegg plans to also work with students around the world to develop Call To Action initiatives to their respective governments and policymakers calling for more robust mental health support.
Stanford University women’s basketball star Cameron Brink, who is Chegg’s newest student athlete brand ambassador, has also stepped forward to join the campaign. She said, “Students today are under a lot of pressure, whether they are juggling their degree with work, family, or, like me, sports. That’s why I am proud to be partnering with Chegg to highlight the importance of student mental wellness.”
Chegg.org Global Student Prize 2022 winner Igor Klymenko, who recently moved to Canada from Ukraine, said, “Thank you to Chegg and all its partners for this important campaign. I am proud to be taking part in the very first Student Mental Health Week, and I look forward to connecting with other students to support each other and call attention to this issue. Attending university far away from home, sometimes I miss my family and friends and it can get me down. But whenever this happens, I pick up the phone to chat to a loved one, or I listen to music from my native Ukraine. I encourage others to reach out and connect with others if they are struggling with their mental health.”