When we started expanding Students With Psychosis in 2019 from a student club at the Pennsylvania State University, we had hoped to spark a global movement but nothing could have prepared us for the tidal wave of not only the flood of over 100 student leaders signing up from all over the world but also psychosis advocates globally uniting and coming on board to help empower our youth. As of 2019, SWP collaborated videos have reached over 20 million views on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram combined in collaboration with TEDx, Special Books By Special Kids, and Barcroft TV. Also, we have been featured in Glamour, CBS This Morning, and twice in Forbes.
Online, students can join one of our internship programs, art community, and/or participate in our social media campaigns. We welcome all students at different places in the treatment journey and different involvement levels. On-campus, a student or faculty member can organize an event at their school or community, start/join an SWP chapter, and/or help represent and bring psychosis to the agenda of an already established mental health club or initiative at the school or in the community. For advocates, our Advocacy Board’s mission is to empower psychosis advocates through unity, collaboration, and support while highlighting role models for our students. The majority of our 2019 Advocacy Board was 75% advocates living with psychosis which reflects SWP’s priority by giving people with lived experience the majority seats at the decision-making table when representing our community.
In March 2019, our Penn State students brought SWP to New York City through our Faces of Schizophrenia event in collaboration with Fountain House. This marked the beginning of our close partnership with this organization. Currently, SWP NYC student chapter meetings are held at Fountain House every Saturday. Also that spring, we had our first international outreach event organized by a student leader and intern in Lisbon, Portugal. In July 2019, SWP co-organized the “I’m Mentally Ill, And I Don’t Kill” peaceful protest in Union Square, New York City. SWP’s presence was also represented at conferences throughout 2019’s October and November by our Advocacy Board members including APA’s The Mental Health Services Conference, NAMI Montana State Conference, SARDAA’s Brains On Broadway, the CNS Summit, ISPS-US 18th Annual Meeting, Michigan State’s Embrace The Rain Event, and Yale’s Women’s Mental Health Conference.
The momentum of SWP is not stopping anytime soon. SWP will be featured in the March 2020 edition of Women’s Health Magazine, and currently, a multiepisode PBS documentary focusing on SWP is being filmed. Our Advocacy Board members will be representing and speaking at a wide variety of conferences. Internationally, Advocacy Board members will be speaking at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020 in Davos, Switzerland, and the Schizophrenia International Research Society 2020 Congress in Florence, Italy. Domestically, our Advocacy Board members will be representing at the beginning of 2020 at Vinfen’s 13th Annual Moving Images Film Festival at Harvard Medical School, Eastern Missouri Mental Health America Conference, and taking it back to where it all began at the Pennsylvania State University with talks, discussions, and a protest.
In March 2020, SWP will be hosting the RETHINK gala event in New York City with a protest fashion show, talks, musical performance, and a silent disco. This event is the product of our community coming together, representing, and taking charge of the dialogue. Everything from the food creation, fashion, art, music at the event to the academic, creative, scientific, and entrepreneurial achievements featured by our speakers will highlight how our differently-abled community is capable of making big moves, creating change, and positively impacting our world.
SWP has also been in contact with YouTube Space where we qualify for membership. This will open the door to advocates, students, and interns to have free membership and access to YouTube Spaces across the globe for not only SWP projects but also help empower your Advocacy Board projects globally. Locations include Berlin, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Rio, and Tokyo. This means that our New York City-based advocates and students will have open access to the studio, and when we fly in advocates to visit us here in New York City as well such as for the RETHINK gala. We are beyond excited about the media content that we can create together to help create social change. 2020 is the year that we #RethinkPsychosis.