Frat mental health task force disbanded before start

The University’s Interfraternity Council created the task force last November, but was later abandoned.

by David Clarey

A push to have mental health advocates in each University of Minnesota fraternity hasn’t got off the ground.

In November, the University’s Interfraternity Council created a task force that would choose several brothers to facilitate mental health aid. But uncertainty surrounding the responsibilities and the pressure that came with that role led the group to abandon the plan, said IFC Executive Vice President Ryder Byrne.

“We want them to go to the right resources and not put all that weight on one student,” he said.

Last fall, the Minnesota Daily reported that the task force’s founder, Teddy Skillings, said he wanted the advocates to receive training from the University Boynton Health or Student Counseling Services.

The goal of the task force was to equip advocates with skills to deal with various mental health issues, but some IFC leaders worried that it was too much pressure on one student, especially if an issue was mishandled, Byrne said.

Byrne, who was not a part of the task force last year, helps the task force with its renewed efforts which will include a social media campaign slated to start in October.

“We got the idea down to have a week to promote on social media the different aspects of mental health awareness and mental health resources the U offers,” he said.

Each day would focus on a different mental health issue, Byrne said.

The task force might revisit the idea of mental health advocates, but its future is uncertain, he said.