As an undergraduate student, Nashea Fable has had to move 13 times.
“I’ve just been through the wringer,” said Fable, a senior communication and social influence major. “So I’ve had a lot of resources, and I was willing to ask for help. I knew that I needed help … but I know a lot of students who are struggling and can’t verbalize that they need help.”
The experiences inspired her to improve Temple University’s resources and support for students. Now, she’s developing a Wellbeing Initiative Project to help Temple students and faculty with issues, like mental health, physical health and financial problems, among other issues.
The project’s goal is to bring awareness to resources and facilities already on campus, like Tuttleman Counseling Services, Cherry Pantry and the Division of Student Affairs Office, and work to expand them.
“There’s just a whole bunch of ways that we can almost like heal ourselves and have well being all together,” Fable said. “And that’s where the goal is to start creating these safe spaces. So this can be something on this campus that we’re aware of and that we can prioritize.”
Fable also wants the initiative to create events where students can release anxiety in safe environments by connecting them with different art forms, like painting or music therapy.
She was inspired by her Urban Organization class, where students created a campaign for a social or political issue to achieve social justice for it.
“I want it to create a long lasting discussion around the importance of well being, and to also, supply the knowledge of what resources are available to as many Temple students as possible, and make sure that they’re all aware that they’re not alone,” Fable said.
Part of her inspiration came from attending Klein College of Media and Communications’ “Stressing Out: Supporting Student Mental and Behavioral” event on Dec. 6, 2019, Fable said.
The event had several speakers on the discussion panel, including Dean of Students Stephanie Ives.
“It’s always important to provide supportive programming like this on campus, especially during high-stress times of the semester when students need it most,” Ives said. “Offering an opportunity to talk about mental health challenges, prevention strategies, resilience and courage is critical for students to share experiences of hardship and triumph so they don’t feel alone and they can embrace hope is also important.”
Since the project is in its initial phase, Fable is planning an outdoor showcase about mental health in April with Tricia Jones, the chair of the CSI department.
In addition, Jason Del Gandio, Fable’s communication and social influence professor, is helping her develop the project within class.
“We all experience struggles and no person is an island,” he said. “Sometimes we just need a helping hand or someone to talk to. But there are too few resources, and even if there are resources, not everyone knows how to access them.”
Del Gandio recognizes Fable’s caring and passionate personality who “wants to make the world a better place,” he said.
“Her beliefs and politics are grounded in her own experiences but she also empathizes with struggles she has not experienced herself,” Del Gandio added. “I wish we had more people like her in the world.”
Fable is investigating how other universities use their mental health, food and shelter resources, student’s history on these issues and key advocates working on mental health.
So far, her research will mainly consist of surveys and focus groups on campus. Once the data has been collected, Fable plans on having her project approved by administration and staff, hopefully, the end of the spring semester.
Other issues, like financial support, food insecurity and affordable housing that trigger mental health needs, are areas that Fable hopes to further investigate.
“It’s really important, just making sure everyone knows that there are resources and that you aren’t alone,” Fable said. “I think it’s one of those things where we all know we need mental health and we know that well being is important, but no one’s saying well being is important, make it important. Pay attention to it. Let’s all get on board with it.”