Students attend one in a recurring series of campus events cosponsored by BW Active Minds and the Cleveland Student Music Therapy Association.

BW is among the first universities in the nation in the new Active Minds/TimelyMD student ambassador program.

New student ambassador champions mental health support at BW

September 26, 2022

Baldwin Wallace University is among the first 16 colleges and universities in the nation to sign onto a new Active Minds and TimelyMD student ambassador program.

Sarah Billman '23

Sarah Billman '23 says she felt an "internal pull" to volunteer as BW's first peer ambassador for mental health.

Before heading off to college, the communication sciences and disorders major was active in her community of Sugarcreek, Ohio. So, she says, "Coming to BW, I felt the need to give the same energy and commitment." 

Once Billman takes on a cause, she says, "I devote myself to it." A psychology minor, Billman found a fit in a range of campus and community causes, including the campus Active Minds chapter.

She's also been involved in service through BW's Brain Center for Community Engagement for four years, taking on leadership roles for the Norma Herr Women's Center Weekly Program and the annual Social Change Summit. Additionally, she participated in two of the Center's Alternative Breaks, one focusing on food insecurity and the other centered around mental health/suicide awareness. 

Now, after completing special training this fall, she is embracing the role of student mental health ambassador.

Challenging stigma

Students attend one in a recurring series of campus events cosponsored by BW Active Minds and the Cleveland Student Music Therapy Association.

Active Minds and TimelyMD launched the new ambassador programs at 16 campuses around the country this fall with the goal of "driving awareness of and promoting resources that improve and support students' mental health." 

BW has offered 24/7 virtual healthcare access through the TimelyCare program, powered by TimelyMD, since January 2021 and has an Active Minds mental health student advocacy group on campus, as well.

Billman, who was one of the first members of BW's Active Minds chapter and currently serves on the executive board, says, "Some students may not use these resources as the stigma that persists on and off campus can make students feel that they are admitting defeat or that they are weak for seeking out support. That is simply not the case. Our mental health is just as important as physical health."

Showcasing free, 24/7 resources

TimelyCare logo

Part of Billman's role as ambassador is to help peers understand how to access the range of BW mental health services, from the on-campus, in-person counseling center to the round-the-clock virtual services offered by TimelyMD.

To access services, students either download the TimelyCare app or go to TimelyCare.com and log in with their BW email.

"I've used TimelyMD in the past and know how valuable a resource it is because it doesn't require insurance and is completely free. Not to mention students have the ability to speak to a professional 24/7, so if a student is experiencing extreme stress at 1 a.m., they can get the support they need from a professional," she explains. "The counselors also express that they are there for students, no matter how big or small the issue is." 

Leveraging peer support

BW Active Minds chapter president Emily Muench and former VP Morgan Ashley table in the union for "Stress Less Week."

According to Active Minds and TimelyMD, the campus ambassador partnership "aims to broaden the conversation about mental health" and builds on survey data showing that "students are most likely to turn to each other first for emotional support."

Ambassadors will promote mental health awareness and resources by hosting campus events and sharing positive social media messages.

"There will be a lot of tabling in the Union with information so students will have the ability to learn more about TimelyCare throughout the semesters," Billman adds. "The exact programs for this semester are still TBD, but there will be social media posts and the ability to directly message me on the Active Minds Instagram (@activeminds_bw)."