Mental Health Matters: Jasmine Chikkala Takes Action

Nyasa HM, contributor
The photo shows a picture of a brain with the letters “Mental health matters” below it
Mental Health Matters logo, made by Jasmine Chikkala, 03/27/2021

In the midst of an isolating pandemic, Auggies are realizing the importance of mental health. Many students have not been given the chance to engage in campus life because they chose to stay home through the pandemic. Some are dropping out because resources and support have become difficult to find during the pandemic. Fortunately, steps are being taken to help students reach their full potential. Mental health advocate and third year student Jasmine Chikkala is creating a new student organization to create space for these discussions: Mental Health Matters. 

“Mental health is important because it affects your whole life,” Chikkala says. “It is valuable to find support and help when you are struggling. Usually, mental illness shows up during young adulthood, and it can become too difficult to manage on your own- and you shouldn’t have to!”

“Mental health is important because it affects your whole life.”

Jasmine Chikkala

Chikkala is a social work major who recently transferred from Inver Hills Community College after receiving her associate degree. She continues to fulfill her mental health mission at Augsburg. Previously, Chikkala participated in mental health groups at Inver Hills through the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI). During this time she tackled issues involving mental health issues ranging from ADHD to Bipolar disorder. Now, Chikkala is determined to initiate conversations about mental health, end stigmas and create safe places for all students to engage in. These objectives will be carried through the Mental Health Matters student organization with guest speakers and activities to teach coping mechanisms at meetings.

Organizations like this are significant because they tackle a subject that everyone experiences to some degree. Chikkala wants to eliminate stigma as much as possible around mental health. Because of her personal experiences facing these stigmas, she wants to introduce and dive deeper into more uncommon topics of mental health such as mood disorders. As someone who experiences this, I was very cheerful to hear there might be more transparency about mental health on campus.

“I believe this group has the power to eliminate the mental health stigma at Augsburg so that individuals can seek help and not feel alone while doing so,” said Chikkala.

Although this is a mental health group, this organization does not provide counseling or any form of clinical mental health care. Resources on mental health and the Mental Health Matters Augsburg student club can be found below. Mental Health Matters’ first meeting will be April 5 at 6 p.m. For more information, email Chikkala at chikkalj@augsburg.edu.