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Jenn Ampey

Jenn Ampey, '19

Seeing the invisible

a student facing away from the camera views a photo exhibit

The last strand of decorative lights fell into place as the clock struck 7:00 pm. After more than nine months of hard work, it was time to open the doors to "Kaleidoscope: Mental Health Coming into Focus."

As students filed in, I couldn't help but stare in awe at the number of students that had come to immerse themselves in the mental health experiences of their peers through art. Many visiting students stayed for upwards of an hour. As co-president of Stanford Mental Health Outreach, I have long had the privilege of engaging with students and faculty across campus on mental health issues. However, the art showcase was a new venture. It involved more than 60 non-members, including student artists and the students photographed. Without them, SMHO would not have been able to host such a moving gallery. 

Jenn Ampey stands with two other students next to a sign that says "Welcome to Kaleidoscope"
Jenn Ampey (center) with friends at the Kaleidoscope event.

We need to continue to have provocative interactions around mental health issues. Doing so with different media is one more way to reach out to our peers and offer our experiences in an effort to destigmatize conversations that could make an enduring difference in someone's life.

As the event drew to a close, surrounded by artistic expressions of sometimes indescribable human experiences, my co-president and I found comfort in the realization that we helped build bridges—bridges that we hope will be crossed again and again at Stanford going forward. 

Jenn Ampey, ’19 (International Relations) was a Peer Advisor at the Haas Center in 2017-18, in addition to her work with SMHO.
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