Client of the Quarter
Our mission: To eliminate stigma and encourage safe and caring conversations about mental health issues and emotional pain in our youth
With roots in Radnor, Pennsylvania, DMAX Foundation is a growing nonprofit organization created with a mission to “eliminate stigma and encourage safe and caring conversations about mental health issues and emotional pain in our youth.” DMAX foundation was created in honor of Dan Maxwell who tragically lost his life due to inner emotional struggles. Through their unfathomable pain, the Maxwells have managed to turn their son’s tragic story into an inspiring one. With the creation of DMAX foundation, the foundation seeks to provide a comforting environment for teens and young adults alike to de-stress and help each other steer through the obstacles of life.
In line with their mission statement, the first DMAX club was established in 2015 at Elon University in North Carolina. DMAX Clubs are student led social groups designed to provide emotional support for students to express how they are doing and ways they can help one another. In order to successfully carry out their mission, DMAX club leaders are trained to: share their personal stories, actively listen to others, be aware of campus emergency procedures, recognize when referrals are needed, and avoid engaging in “therapy.”
The spring 2018 American College Health Association (ACHA) survey found that during the previous year, 63% of students have felt very lonely, 63% have felt overwhelming anxiety, 42% have felt so depressed it was difficult to function, and 12% reported having seriously considered suicide. In addition, a 2018 study on loneliness by Cigna found that college age students are the “loneliest generation.
DMAX clubs strive to combat these statistics by providing a place where students can talk about whatever is on their minds. A place to form connection and discover they are not alone in their struggles and stress. They can have relaxed, informal conversations about how they are REALLY doing, support each other, and find referrals for further assistance. What makes DMAX Clubs different from other mental health clubs is their motto ‘Friends Helping Friends.’ An important thing to recognize is that everyone experiences stress but there is always help. It is also not a one-way street. Every club participant is encouraged to share their story and help each other.
Feedback from a fall 2018 survey of DMAX club members indicate that 100% of members would recommend the club to their friends, 95% say that DMAX Club has improved their relationships with others, 84% say it has improved their feelings about school, 79% say it has improved their outlook on the future and 74% say it has improved their feelings about themselves.
In 2018, four new DMAX clubs were began operations at Penn State University (State College, PA), Temple University (Philadelphia, PA), Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA), and the University of Maryland (College Park, MD). In 2019, the DMAX Foundation hopes to open up an additional three to five clubs.
Every year, DMAX Foundation has an educational event in Bryn Mawr. On April 24, Dr. Lise DeGuire, local psychologist, burn survivor and survivor of four family suicides will speak about resilience and hope. Tom Burgoyne, the Phillie Phanatic for 30 years, will talk about how love and connection make a difference in people’s lives. For tickets, please visit: https://www.dmaxfoundation.org/finding-strength-in-broken-places/
For more information on how to join or start a DMAX Club at your local college campus, please refer to the DMAX Foundation website at: https://www.dmaxfoundation.org/about-dmax-clubs/