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Boiler Support Network Encourages Mental Well-Being

Members of BSN after a meeting
Members of BSN after a meeting

The Boilermaker Support Network, a registered student organization, is raising awareness, hosting student-run support group sessions and promoting an accepting culture to support the well-being of students. By extending their support to students in need and making resources that aid in mental health more well known, they work towards making Purdue a better and healthier place. 

Senior Veronica Reynolds helped establish the Boilermaker Support Network (BSN), the Purdue chapter of the nationwide organization called The Support Network, in 2021. Reynolds, the outgoing president organization, shares what she wanted to accomplish with the establishment of the Purdue chapter.  

“We wanted to provide a place for support,” Reynolds says. “We aren’t professionals but we are a resource to be there when they need someone.”  

Many of the students in leadership positions are pursuing careers in psychology, The club provides an opportunity for students to help the Boilermaker community and begin to build their careers. 

Nationwide, college campuses are experiencing a growing demand for resources to support mental well-being. According to the American Psychological Association, over 60% of students in the year 2020-2021 met the criteria for one or more mental health problems, and in 2022 more than 75% of students experienced some form of psychological distress. Organizations offering peer-to-peer support like the Boilermaker Support Network provide another avenue for students to gain the support they need and supplement psychological and mental health resources on campus. There are many methods that individuals use to check in and care for themselves. 

Reynolds considers how she cares for her mental well-being.  

“Taking care of my mental well-being has been a journey since I started at Purdue,” Reynolds says. “Mental well-being is such an important part of life, and it is something you have to learn living on your own for the first time.”  

For many students, college is the first time that they have been responsible for balancing health, mental well-being and academics on their own. 

BSN at their Field of Memories event providing messages of hope to students

Having clubs like BSN helps many students who are struggling or don’t have resources feel connected to a community full of people going through similar struggles. The club is especially helpful for first-year students making the transition to college life but is helpful for students at all levels. The club is willing and ready to listen to any challenges students may face. Meetings occur on multiple days of the week and are available through the Boilermaker Support Network Slack channel.  

There are many opportunities for students to check in to club events and destress after grueling days of schoolwork. Some of the events that have been hosted include pot painting, coloring, group support meetings, yoga sessions and more. These events give students the chance to be a part of a community full of caring individuals who understand the importance of mental health.

The BSN table during Mental Health Action Week including Reynolds (center)

The future of this organization is bright and its officers are optimistic about involvement. The organization has worked hard to make their first full academic year the best it can be and they look forward to years of involvement. BSN is looking to increase involvement specifically from male students on campus. They are excited that more men are taking on leadership roles in the organization and want to continue promoting the club and the idea that taking care of mental health is for everyone, regardless of gender. 

“I see BSN growing bigger,” Reynolds says. “I hope BSN can continue meeting students right as they get here. I want students to find a community in our club. We’ve increased by over 50% just this year. I want to keep upping that number.”  

BSN looks forward to continuing to tear down stigmas and encourage students to take care of themselves and their well-being. Reynolds is excited to see what future directors will do and plans on following up with BSN to see what gets accomplished.

Reynolds (center left) speaking at Purdue's Steps to Leap Summit

As for Reynolds’ future, she looks forward to making a difference with her post-graduate plans. Her next steps will be at the JW Marriott Chicago and she anticipates building upon the skills learned through Boilermaker Support Network.  

“I’m going to have to relearn balancing mental well-being in this new chapter of my life,” Reynolds says. “I also want to advocate for and aid in gathering mental health resources for my position at the Marriot.” 

BSN is full of opportunities for personal development, whether that be exploring leadership, better understanding how to take care of mental well-being, furthering a career, or finding a community. There is a way for everyone to progress. Everyone belongs at BSN and Reynolds encourages interested students to join. To become a member, join the Boilermaker Support Network slack channel and fill out their membership form. The form goes over essential identity questions and availability, which takes a total of approximately five minutes to fill out. From there, students will be able to stay informed.

Written by: Hannah Williamson, Writing and Communications Intern, Student Life Marketing