BY CLAIRE HALLORAN
Early last Spring, two Temple students wandered through the Wellness Center’s Mental Health Fair.
When Heather DeSalvo and Michael Nghe wrote their names on the piece of paper on the table of the DMax foundation, they had little idea how much of their time and effort would go to starting their own chapter at Temple.
“DMax is a community that helps students cope with college,” said Nghe, the president of Temple’s recently founded DMax chapter.
Since the Mental Health Fair, Nghe and DeSalvo have worked through paperwork and frustration to get the club established.
“We felt bad, we felt really annoying,” Desalvo said. Regardless, the two knew they had chosen the right project, and pushed through to ensure the club would be approved. “Once we started telling them about the goals of the club, and how it’s different from what we already have here, a lot of the other clubs, like Active Minds, which are great organizations focus mostly on education, but DMax clubs focus on education but also focus on helping college students get through things and helping them talk to one another rather than just telling them about it.”
The club plans to host bi-weekly meetings, in which members can come together to discuss a chosen topic under the guidance of two certified conversation leaders. According to Nghe and DiSalvo, who are both receiving their own training at Tuttleman, the discussions can range from something as mundane as a squirrel you saw in the trashcan on the Liacouras walk, to the burden of stress.
DiSalvo said she hopes the club will encourage students to talk to one another more, and reduce their sense of loneliness at a school with almost 30,000 undergraduate students.
“People don’t usually talk about how they’re doing, especially at a school this big,” DiSalvo said. “It’s easy to feel like you’re invisible. This is just a way for people to help each other, no matter how small or big the issue.”
The DMax foundation, named after the founders Laurie and Lee Maxwell’s son Dan, strives to create conversations that matter in order to reduce the stigma against mental illness. The Maxwell’s lost their son Dan to suicide after months of trying to help him battle his own mental illness, and realized that their lack of ability to reach out to friends or family was causing them pain.
The Dmax foundation began in Radnor, and has spread its roots through clubs at a variety of colleges and universities.
For more information on how to get involved with the DMax club, visit @dmaxclubtemple on Twitter or Facebook.