Bears Helping Bears: UCREW’s ‘No-Shame Pledge’

Kate Horan

UCrew is an organization at Ursinus College that works to promote health and wellness while educating about harm reduction and helping students to avoid problems related to alcohol or drug use. UCrew is currently promoting the No-Shame Pledge, which was originally created by SAFE (Stopping the Addiction Fatality Epidemic) Project Non-Profit to combat the stigma associated with getting help for mental health and substance-use disorder.

There is an abundance of stigma surrounding reaching out for help and aid when dealing with mental health and substance-use disorder. While this social stigma exists at all levels and throughout all age groups, it is especially prevalent on college campuses. According to Sophie Louis ’24, “in regard to substance-use disorder there is a misconception that college-aged individuals are ‘too young’ to have a substance-use disorder, which invalidates the experience of many while also increasing the stigma associated with reaching out for help.”

With social stigmas, there is a lack of support for college-aged students who have a substance-use disorder or struggle with mental health. Louis states, “The stigma associated with reaching out for help serves as an additional challenge for those already struggling with mental health/substance-use disorder, underlying the importance of fighting it.”

“We hope this pledge helps to create a space for students in recovery while also creating awareness of the prevalent stigma that prevents many from seeking help,” explains Louis. UCrew is promoting the No-Shame Pledge on Ursinus’s campus with the goal of creating a culture change on campus, working to reduce the stigma around reaching out for help as well as fostering a supportive and inclusive community.

Participating in this movement started by SAFE is very important to members of UCrew. It not only allows them to help those who are struggling, but it also allows them to spread awareness. According to Avery Tomeo ’23, “Being part of this big movement to me means that I have the opportunity to spread this knowledge and get others to become part of this movement.”

Like most other movements, spreading awareness is one of the most important parts. Izzy Deal ’23 states, “I think it’s special to be a part of this movement because it combines two organizations, UCrew and SAFE Project Non-Profit, in spreading an important message. I also like that the pledge frames this message in a capacity that speaks to a lot of people and reaches a wider audience on campus. It has a special place in my heart.”

UCREW members believe this pledge is extremely important to the entire campus, both to those it can help and to those it can teach. It helps to combat the stigma for those struggling to seek help with substance-use disorders and mental health issues, making for a stronger, healthier, and better Bear community. If you have any questions on how to get involved in UCREW’s No-Shame Pledge, contact ucrew@ or follow them on Instagram @Ursinus_UCREW !