A campaign to help TCU community members not feel defined by their health diagnoses will host an outreach tabling day Friday.
Diagnosed, Not Defined (DND) is a Student Government Association (SGA) initiative that started last year.
Class of 2023 Representative Anastasia Helms started the campaign to help make students feel worth beyond their medical chart.
“Our goal is to make everyone feel seen, heard, loved and worthy and not defined by what their medical chart says about them,” she said.
DND focuses on strengthening unity on campus in relation to health diagnoses, and ensuring that community members have access to the resources they need.
SGA Director of Wellness Kendall Drummond said that the initiative helps expand the “safety net” on campus to make sure that needs are getting met in relation to wellness.
DND expands this net through interactions and connections that Drummond thinks can help alleviate the trauma that medical diagnoses can bring.
“Strengthening and transparency between the students doesn’t create a culture of division, but a culture of unity,” she said. “We want to create a safe place for everybody. The best way to alleviate these symptoms of trauma (with diagnoses) is connections with other human beings.”
The initiative also aims to connect students with the campus resources they need, whether they are struggling with their mental health or looking for a new workout plan that works for their health conditions.
“This campaign, along with leadership from the counseling center and Chancellor Boschini, is trying to show that trauma is not a scary word. That trauma happens to all of us, especially after COVID, and that trauma can be dealt with with the resources on campus,” Drummond said.
DND will host a tabling event on Friday and will also be promoting the initiative on social media.
Separating identity from diagnosis
Helms opened up about her own struggles after being diagnosed with epilepsy her senior year of high school.
She stressed the importance of a strong support system, and said that her diagnosis inspired her to apply for SGA to create the DND campaign and help TCU students address the fear and isolation that may follow a diagnosis.
“While we may not physically or emotionally understand exactly what a student is going through, being able to have someone who can be there for them and give them that support will make all the difference,” Helms said.
Helms wants the DND campaign to help students separate their identity from their diagnosis.
“Our diagnoses don’t define us,” she said. “My name is Anastasia, not epilepsy. I want other people to feel the same way. This is a part of me, but it is not who I am as a person.”
During the DND campaign, students will be able to connect with others with the same diagnosis and learn from students that don’t share their diagnoses.
DND extends to all forms of diagnoses, not just psychological, even though mental health is at the center of the campaign.
“I’m not ‘mental health director’, I’m wellness director. It goes beyond just mental health,” Drummond said. “It goes to epilepsy, broken bones, deafness, blindness, enlarged tonsils and allergies, heart palpitations. We have resources on this campus that can address all aspects of wellness.”
The tabling event Friday will be from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in front of the Founders Statue.