Howling Success: Lauren Bradley
As a Mental Health Ambassador for the Counseling Center and Prevention Services, Lauren Bradley connects her classmates with helpful resources and support groups on campus.
When Lauren Bradley (social work ’23) noticed a decline in her mental health during her first year at NC State, she decided to seek assistance from the Counseling Center and Prevention Services. She started by attending Drop-in Spaces, a series of regularly occurring events where students can socialize and participate in fun, stress-relieving activities with no commitment to return. However, she ended up returning many times.
Through Drop-in Spaces, Bradley found some of her closest friends and learned about the Mental Health Ambassador (MHA) program. The following academic year, Bradley became an MHA herself.
“Mental health is important on college campuses, and people don’t always take it seriously,” Bradley said. “I know I didn’t take it seriously when I first came to college and it really started to affect me and my quality of life. I wanted to help make other students more aware of their mental health and how important it is to take care of it.”
In Her Own Words
One of the primary goals of the MHA program is to use peer-to-peer education and the power of connection to continue to decrease stigma around help-seeking and self-care. As an MHA, Bradley facilitates the “Start the Convo” drop-in space, Pause for Paws therapy dog visits and other Prevention Services’ outreach programs. She also gives presentations on various mental health topics for classroom presentations, campus partners and community events.
During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Bradley and her fellow MHAs continue to give NC State students an outlet at Drop-in Spaces where they can socialize and uplift one another in a variety of settings. Drop-in Spaces themes include International Tea Time, Black and Boundaried, Pack Park, Pack Recovery and many more.
“I love hearing from our students about how much they enjoy our activities,” Bradley said. “I have a lot of people tell me about the strategies they’ve implemented in their lives and how it’s been successful, and that’s really fun and rewarding to hear.”
Another aspect of Bradley’s work as an MHA involves stopping the stigma around students seeking mental health support.
“One of the best things we can do is just talk about it,” Bradley said. “Seeking help for your mental health is not a weird thing — it’s very common. I would encourage anyone to go to individual or group counseling, lean on their friends and support systems, and just to take time to put things into perspective.”
When Bradley learned she had been nominated by the Counseling Center and Prevention Services as a Howling Success, she admitted she was surprised because she felt she hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary. The staff, however, have been thoroughly impressed.
“Lauren is a great success story of engaging with support on campus, finding connection and ultimately becoming an involved member of the Wolfpack,” said Laura Boyd, assistant director and CARES coordinator for Prevention Services. “She went from a support seeker to an avid mental health supporter, committed to helping others belong.”
“From the start, Lauren has been intentional about her purpose and efforts as a mental health ambassador,” said Rose Jerome, outreach and resilience coordinator for Prevention Services. “Her natural drive to support others, mixed with such a funny, inviting and bright personality, assists her in sustaining solid connections. Lauren has offered so much of her support, but more importantly she has been a pleasure to collaborate with. All mental health ambassadors share the ultimate goal of stopping mental health stigma through peer-to-peer education on NC State’s campus, and we are grateful for Lauren’s many contributions to that during such a unique time.”
Learn more about Prevention Services, Drop-in Spaces and other mental health resources available to students on the Prevention Services website. Any student interested in becoming a mental health ambassador may fill out this interest form.