Media Advisory: Wake Forest University joins ‘The Campaign to Change Direction’

Wake Forest University is taking part in “The Campaign to Change Direction,” a national initiative to create a new story in America about mental health, mental illness and wellness. As part of the collective effort led by Give an Hour, Wake Forest University joined 50 other campaign partners in this effort with its pledge to support this initiative through campus programs and services focused on mental health.

“We see the scope of work as closely aligned with Wake Forest’s commitment to comprehensive wellbeing, and mental health is an essential component of the overall wellbeing journey, both individually and collectively,” said Malika Roman Isler, Director of Wellbeing at Wake Forest. “We are happy to partner in this campaign.”

Wake Forest launched “Thrive,” a comprehensive, eight-dimensional approach to wellbeing last fall.

Inspired by discussions at the White House National Conference on Mental Health in 2013, ‘Change Direction’ is a response to the way society addresses mental health. One in five Americans live with a diagnosable mental health condition, and it is expected that more Americans will die by suicide than in car accidents this year.

The campaign launched at a mental health summit at the Newseum on March 4, which included a keynote address from First Lady Michelle Obama, an appearance by Academy Award-winning producer of “Silver Linings Playbook,” Brue Cohen, and a performance by G.R.L., a musical girl group that was personally touched by the issue when their lead singer, Simone Battle, committed suicide in September 2014.

“Give an Hour is proud to lead this collective impact effort of partners from every sector of society as we change the direction of mental health in our nation. By creating a shared mission, by educating Americans about the five signs of emotional suffering, by encouraging compassion and action, we can change our culture to reflect what we know to be true—that mental health is not something to be afraid of or embarrassed about,” said Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, founder and president of Give an Hour.

Wake Forest encourages individuals and other organizations to “help change the direction” of mental health in our country and let your voices be heard by joining us in making a pledge, however large or small.  The simplest pledge is one that anyone can do: Learn the five signs of emotional suffering so you can recognize them in yourself or help a loved one who may be in emotional pain.  To learn more or to make a pledge to Change Direction, visit

About Wake Forest University

Wake Forest University combines the best traditions of a small liberal arts college with the resources of a large research university. Founded in 1834, the school is located in Winston-Salem, N.C. The University’s graduate school of arts and sciences, divinity school, and nationally ranked schools of law, medicine and business enrich our intellectual environment. Learn more about Wake Forest University at

About The Campaign to Change Direction

The Campaign to Change Direction initiative is a collection of concerned citizens, nonprofit leaders, and leaders from the private sector who have come together to create a new story in America about mental health, mental illness, and wellness. This initiative was inspired by the discussion at the White House National Conference on Mental Health in 2013, which came on the heels of the Newtown tragedy.

Categories: Media Advisory