November 20, 2020

Grant to Bard College helps students address Mental Health Concerns & Stigma

Despite the challenges that COVID-19 has brought to colleges everywhere,  JKBF is pleased to share that an exciting mental health and creativity initiative in partnership with Bard College will continue. In years past, JKBF has funded grants to Jamie’s alma mater, Bard College, for scholarship and library funding, as well as outreach and counseling opportunities for generating important conversations about mental health. 
With creative reimagining to accommodate Covid-related circumstances, JKBF’s 2020 grant is funding a writing workshop over the next few months for Bard students, facilitated by the TMI Project. In the fall students attended screenings of the TMI film ‘Vicarious Resilience’  a documentary that amplifies the voices of those with insightful stories about living with a mental illness. After the screening, students gathered virtually for a facilitated conversation with Bard counseling staff about the importance of sharing your own story with others, how it might be helpful, and any other surprising lessons learned as an outcome of the film.

Gaby Annese, a participating student, provided her inspiring reaction to the film:

“I recently watched Vicarious Resilience on Vimeo and my inner world came alive. I saw people put words to the song the caged bird within them sings. And I closed my eyes, with tears rolling down my face as I imagined what sitting in a room of healers and guides and real and raw stories elements must be like. I feel like a prized woman to just have the opportunity to sit and watch the screening, to be here pouring my heart into this answer box. What I would gain from the TMI workshop and presentation would be a memorable experience to offset the harmful stigma that fills this world and has taken too much space into my identity. This would be an opportunity to siphon out the limiting beliefs that have been set upon me and I hope to hand any box of shame back to anyone who tried delivering it to me.”
Since rules and regulations about meeting in-person change consistently due to COVID-19, the TMI Project workshops will take place virtually over the next several months, with campus counseling leaders also hosting virtual meetings to maintain the conversation and connections between the participants. A culminating performance is planned for March and we look forward to sharing more then!
This project has special meaning for JKBF, as it connects Jamie’s history as a young writer at Bard with our mission of helping to ease suffering and prevent suicide. We thank Bard College, the facilitators at TMI Project, and every participating student for becoming part of the conversation to reduce stigma, increase understanding, and stop the rising tide of suicide.