The Dam Worth It campaign has relaunched this school year as the official mental health campaign of Oregon State University. This year’s members, which now include both student-athletes and students from the general population, are hoping to take the campaign’s message across the community.
The campaign was started around two years ago by student-athletes Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci after the suicides of two student-athletes within athletics, and a conversation about mental health in sports sparked a campaign idea. According to Evan Munn, this year's co-president of the campaign, Dam Worth It was originally focused specifically on athletics. Using sports as a platform for addressing mental health and working to end the stigma surrounding it, turned out to be a great success for the members of the campaign, so they began to brainstorm ways to incorporate Dam Worth It throughout the entire campus.
“This is an inclusive campaign, and everyone has struggles that are different than our own,” Munn said. “Just because your struggle is different from my struggle, that doesn’t mean we aren’t connected.”
Munn hopes to take the campaign into middle schools and high schools around the Corvallis area as a form of outreach. According to Munn, Braaten opened the doors for him to start talking to school districts after the campaign’s PAC 12 school presentations last year.
“It’s insane to think that college is the only place you can find help like this,” Munn said. “We all know what middle school and high school can be like. So if we can stretch into every avenue we possibly can, that would be awesome.”
Munn is currently working on an individual project to get gatekeeper training for all the sports teams at OSU. If that goes well, he hopes to spread the training to greek life and other organizations around campus. The Dam Worth It campaign also works closely with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
According to Munn, this year’s Dam Worth It campaign is made up of two presidents, two vice-presidents, a marketing team and an events committee. The program also gets connections and contacts around campus from the associate athletic director on campus.
Isis Lowery, a member of the Dam Worth It marketing team, is excited to see a growth in mental health awareness as a result of the campaign. As a marketing team member, her job is to bring as much awareness to the campaign as she can. According to Lowery, a goal of the campaign is to make mental health resources more accessible around campus.
“Our goal is to continue to spread the message that it’s okay not to be okay. Regardless of who you are, or what you do, you are loved, you are valued and you are Dam Worth It,” Lowery said via email.
The Dam Worth It games are returning to OSU this year after how successful they were last year. According to Munn, each sport at the university will hold one game dedicated to the campaign and its messages. The Dam Worth It volleyball game is on Oct. 18. Additionally, there will be a Dam Worth It table at the, 100 Reasons to Stay Alive, event on Oct. 17 in the Memorial Union Quad at 10 a.m.