3.2.2 Freshman Forum

September 24th, 2014 - Sarahanne Davidson

Meet Sarahanne Davidson, USGA’s Mental Health Awareness Program Coordinator who brought the “Before I Die” wall to UAB.

2014 09 24 Sarahanne

Davidson, a Lake Wylie, South Carolina native, is a junior Public Health major and Biology minor on the pre-PA track. Aside from her position on the USGA, Davidson is a known leader on campus. She is a member of Alpha Xi Delta sorority, an orientation leader, the Secretary of Active Minds at UAB, and works at the campus Barnes and Noble.

As the MHAP coordinator, she plans and executes programs that engage UAB students in a variety of mental health topics, including awareness events and prevention projects.

This year marks Davidson’s first year as a part of USGA, as well as the advent of MHAP. Davidson cited her desire to bring light to mental health issues that plague college students as her interest in leading the program.

“Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students, and I really wanted to change the stigmatizing culture surrounding mental illness. Prior to joining USGA, I led several small-scale mental health programs on campus. I was so excited when USGA introduced the MHAP Coordinator position last spring because it gave me the opportunity to dream bigger and reach a broader audience,” Davidson said.

Davidson oversaw MHAP’s first major project: the “Before I Die” wall, an installation that has been the center of attention on campus. The wall has sparked widespread interest and conversation as students wrote and were able to reflect on what they hope to see or accomplish before they die.

Other “Before I Die” walls in cities and college campuses around the world inspired Davidson to bring the project to UAB.

“It has been really exciting for me to see the overwhelmingly positive response to the Wall! I have seen my own dream come true with the construction of the Wall, and I am so grateful for the hand-written messages that have touched my heart, made me think, or just laugh out loud. I’d like to challenge the student body to keep using the wall as a tool of inspiration and reflection,” Davidson said.

Davidson hopes MHAP will encourage students who are suffering to seek out help. Through her upcoming projects, she plans to teach effective stress coping skills, hold screenings for mental illness, and equip students with the skills needed to intervene in mental health crisis.

“You should never be afraid to reach out for assistance!” Davidson said. “You do not have to struggle silently. We all have mental health to take care of, and USGA is here to end the stigma associated with mental illness.”