Need for revival on campus

Q: What exactly is your job on campus?
A: I am a chaplain here in Campus Ministries, and I meet with students one-on-one and offer pastoral care. I also organize spring break immersion trips and train leaders.

Q: Can you give a brief explanation about what this current “Revive” series is about?
A: The Revive group was formed through student interest, there were five seniors that came to our office and desired to have a group where they could support other students struggling with mental illness. Part of their heart was to break down stereotypes that are often held in our society, and the hesitancy of reaching out when they do need help. They really want to encourage students to reach out and get help.

Q: Do you feel that there are any unique aspects/struggles to dealing with mental illness on a faith-based campus?
A: I don’t think there are any struggles. We have a counseling office that does a really good job of meeting with students, and I think that it’s a great opportunity on a Christian campus to say “God hasn’t forgotten you. You have a body that’s physical.” Just like if we were to have a struggle with diabetes, we wouldn’t keep praying for that to go away; we would seek medication, and God is part of that medication. That’s where I think God is part of counseling. So I think a Christian campus can be a rich experience. We do in our society want instant fixes and when we don’t have thatPsalm 40 says that “I waited and waited and waited on God, to hear my cry”- and I think that it can get weary. You just need other people to pull the church toward you

Q: How has the topic of mental illness changed on campus in recent years?
A: I think the awareness is becoming more vocal. There has been support over the years, and this generation is more in tune. People are saying “I don’t want to live this way,” and I think that’s a cool part because whether it’s a physical or emotional pain, there are signals that say “This isn’t quite right,” and it prompts you to get help.

Q: Is there anything you would still like to change?
A: I wish for students to see that God cares about them, and he cares about their whole being. He doesn’t just care about their success academically, but he cares about them relationally and intellectually. I think here at college we physically get tuned into the emotional and relational and spiritual side and that excites me, when students actually get it.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish with this series?
A: I want students to be able to come and talk about a subject that they may feel marginalized because of, and I hope that they realize there’s hope and help. I hope they realize they are not alone. I think pain isolates, whether it’s physically or emotionally.

Q:When you have any conversation with anyone about mental illness, what do you find yourself telling them the most?
A: I often look at the psalms. Psalm 40 is just a reassuring psalm that we have a God that cares about your emotions, and that it is okay to struggle, and your darkest day is not always going to be how you live the rest of your life. And wholistic healing can be a slow process, so it’s okay to be where you’re at, but there is a future hope of navigating through this.

Zach Dankert ('21) is one of the Campus Co-Editors at the Anchor.

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