Meghana Gorur, president of the Pan-Asian Mental Wellness Association and student of environmental public health, hopes to break the stigma of mental health and build a community for those suffering.
Conquering the socio-cultural barriers that hinder students' mental wellness is no small task, especially when you're working toward your undergraduate degree in public health. But that's the mission Meghana Gorur has taken on as president of the Pan-Asian Mental Wellness Association (PMWA), a student organization at Ohio State that aims to break the stigma surrounding mental health through education, advocacy and dialogue.
Gorur and the founding members of the club began to notice that mental health wasn't being addressed—much less talked about—among their families and friends, and wanted to create a safe space for students to openly discuss mental wellness.
“Sophomore year was the darkest time for me in my entire life,” Gorur said. “I felt like I was alone and had no support system on campus or at home. I want to make sure no student feels like I did sophomore year."
Gorur was elected fundraising chair of the organization her junior year and helped raise money to support the club’s operations. She pitched several event ideas; one of which became an annual event focused on sexual assault awareness called “Now What?” In partnership with the Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio (SARNCO), Unmasked OSU and Title IX, the club was able to host survivors who shared their stories and educated attendees on the qualities of a good ally.
Her contributions to the organization as fundraising chair led to Gorur being elected president of PMWA for the 2018-2019 school year. The club has hosted several events this semester focused on creating mental health dialogue.
“I want to have done as many collaborations as possible with other organizations during my presidency,” Gorur said. “For me, it is not about the pride of putting on an event by ourselves, it is about spreading the message. By collaborating with other organizations, we can get people interested in mental health that wouldn't normally be interested in it.”
Gorur said she can relate to other club members through sharing her own experience with mental health. She aims to use her story to encourage others to get help.
"I want everyone to know that there is a safe space for them. No matter your ethnicity, PMWA can be a home for you.”