SEPT | 2019

September 27th, 2019 – 

Did You Know...

1 in 6 youth and 1 in 4 college students struggles with mental heatlh problems?

1 in 6 youth and 1 in 4 college students struggles with mental health problems, but 50-60% don't find help? 

Research from Brigham & Women's Hospital & NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) show that the mental health of our youth is a true concern and early intervention should be priority. There is, on average, a 10 year gap between the onset of mental illness symptoms and treatment.

And more and more we are realizing that students are masters at hiding their suffering. A casual conversation would present a smiling, "everything is great" facade, but inside many students are suffering greatly. They may not be asking for help because they fear stigma or judgment; or they may lack awareness or understanding about their symptoms and not know how to ask for help.

This is where UShine's unique approach to mental health education comes in. Awareness campaigns are needed and a great way for someone to not feel alone, but now what? We feel like students benefit most, not just from awareness, but taking the time and energy to teach them tangible skills they can use to cultivate positive mental and emotional health. We believe in a "mental health for all" approach and stressing the importance of every student plugging into UShine's programs. Investing in the students in this way is a more time-consuming, on the ground approach, but we also believe it's more beneficial and life-changing in the long-run. We would rather work side-by-side with 200 students throughout a school year and make a lasting impact, than plan a momentary campaign for tens of thousands. By making our programs approachable and positive, students feel more comfortable participating without the fear of stigma. We are able to help many, who might not otherwise seek treatment, learn valuable tools to improve their mental and emotional health; and we give students the awareness and encouragement they need to seek the help of a counselor or trusted mentor. When you partner with UShine, you are providing useful, personal help to students.



We are so grateful to all of you who support us in various ways. And to help the most number of students, we need your continued support. Help us start the year off strong by choosing to be a 2019 / 2020 school year sponsor!

-$25 / month or $300 / one-time could provide UShine Conversations programming for 25 students.

-$50 / month or $600 / one-time could provide our more intensive, 6 week Healthy Habits program for 24 students.

-$100 / month or $1,200 / one-time could provide a robust research program to help us further improve the efficacy of our programs.

-or any monthly or one-time amount that fits your budget will still help us provide quality programming to the students.

You can make a one-time donation or set up a monthly payment plan here:


-SAVE THE DATE!! Our 2nd Annual, A Heart for Resilience fundraising event is on the calendar! The event will be the evening of Monday, February 24th, at the OK History Center. We sold out last year, so mark your calendars, watch for more details, and be ready to buy your tickets!

-ask us about corporate sponsorship options @ [email protected]

Student Happenings

Fall 2019

We've had a great start to the fall semester!

-450 freshmen at Oklahoma Christian University did a shortened version of Ushine's Healthy Habits program during their orientation week. They learned physical, emotional, social, and spiritual tools to help them start their college journey with a toolbox full of resources to help them cultivate their mental and emotional health.

-The nursing students at Oklahoma Christian also did a UShine's Healthy Habits boot camp, under the direction of Christy Hallock, tailored for their specific needs as new nursing students.

-Around 50 college freshmen joined us for a goal-setting party the beginning of the month, to set tangible goals for their physical, emotional, social, and spiritual health. Did you know your 42% more likely to accomplish a goal if you write it down?!

-Oklahoma Christian Academy(OCA) high school students will be starting Healthy Habits later this fall.

-We just launched our first UShine Student Leadership Team and we are so excited about the excitement and feedback that they will bring to the UShine program as a whole. Meet the team at the bottom of the page here!

Mental Health Hero

Amanda Wiens, LPC

Our Mental Health Hero each quarter is focused on someone who is a champion in the mental health field or someone who lives a beautiful, successful life despite a diagnosis with a mental illness.

Our Mental Health Hero for this quarter is UShine board Secretary Amanda Wiens, LPC. She is someone who gives tirelessly of her time and resources in the mental health field. In an interview with Amanda, we learned about her background, her areas of focus and why she pours herself into this work.

Jenn: "Amanda, what was your educational background that brought you to the field of mental health?"
Amanda: "I was born & raised in Oklahoma and received my high school diploma from Fairview High School, a BS in Family Studies from Oklahoma Christian University, and my MA in counseling from Southern Nazarene University."

Jenn: "What kind of work have you done upon graduation?"
Amanda: "I have worked 17 years for Integris Mental Health in Spencer, an inpatient psychiatric hospital. My main focus there is working with children ages 5-12 who are coping with sexual trauma and sexual acting out behaviors.I also spend part of my time in private practice at Spero Counseling in Edmond."

Jenn: "I think it takes a really special person to work in sexual trauma, especially with children. And I imagine it would be exceedingly challenging and heart-wrenching work at times. What made you answer the call to work in this special area of mental health and what has kept you in it for so long?"

Amanda: "I truly believe God placed me in this sensitive area. He had me work as an assistant to Dr. Mark Johnson for the children's sexual trauma group at The Parents Assistance Center when I first started in the field and then Dr. Johnson told me about an internship opportunity on the STAR (Sexual Trauma and Abuse Recovery) unit at Integris and just grew as a passion to give these children hope for their future. I've been there ever since this opportunity presented itself and I have the opportunity to really build a therapeutic relationship with these kids and their caregivers as they live there for six to eights months for our program. God has also given me a wonderful support system in my family and friends to give me encouragement, laughter, and prayers when I need it.

Jenn: "Do you have certain specialty areas within your private practice?"
Amanda: "I work with all types of patients - those that deal with depression, anxiety, trauma, inappropriate sexual behavior, autism, and family issues. I have a really broad focus."

Jenn: "I know you explained why you chose to work in sexual trauma, but what made you want to be a counselor to begin with?"
Amanda: "Even as a child, I knew I wanted to be in the helping field. My mother was a nurse and I grew up watching her help others in her work. My grandmother was also a nurse in her earlier years but also struggled with mental illness. Living in a rural area, I watched the difficulty she had in getting the appropriate care she needed. Seeing her struggle inspired me to want to help others in this capacity.I have a passion for helping others see the light in the darkness and helping them find their focus."

Jenn: "We know that self-care is so important for those that work in counseling. What do you do to stay mentally healthy and fit?"
Amanda: "Well, since I work in a mental health facility I have access to a lot of great therapist’s / friends, so that means free counseling for me!! I'm also a member of the INTEGRIS rowing team and spend time out on the Oklahoma River. I love the sunshine and being outdoors. Positive self-talk and prayer are my go-to's when I'm stressed, and traveling with friends and family is also good for my soul.

We are so blessed to have Amanda's insight and help on the UShine team. She also is a member of Junior Service League Midwest City.

About The Author

As someone who has dealt with anxiety and depression throughout her life, Jennifer personally knows the darkness that can come from mental illness. On the bright side, she also knows the hope and healing that can come through a holistic approach to mental health.  She loves sharing her story of hope with others and is passionate about teaching university students and young adults their potential for becoming more mentally resilient. She also loves helping break the unfortunate stigmas that often come with mental illness, by sharing stories of the many beautiful, creative, and successful people who live full and amazing lives despite a diagnosis of mental illness.