Jan 18, 2023
Project LETS: Building Peer-Led Mental Health Alternatives on Campus
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Last fall, the New Haven Register reported that a group of Yale University students and alumni filed a federal lawsuit against the university challenging its policies and practices around students with mental health disabilities. But according to our guest, a lack of access to appropriate support, as well as discrimination against students struggling with their mental health, are all too common on American campuses.
Stefanie Lyn Kaufman-Mthimkhulu is the founder and director of the non-profit Project LETS, which stands for Let’s Erase the Stigma. Project LETS is a national grassroots organization and movement focused on creating innovative, peer-led alternatives to our current mental health system. Their work includes peer support and communicative care, political advocacy, organizing, and mutual aid.
Project LETS's mission looks beyond academia, though; led by and for people with lived experience of mental illness/madness, disability, trauma, and neurodivergence, it “seeks to build a world without systems of oppression where non-carceral responses to crises are the norm.” The organization is now active on about 30 college and high school campuses across the country.
Kaufman-Mthimkhulu is a 2017 graduate of Brown University with a degree in Medical Anthropology and Contemplative Studies, and was a 2018 Fullbright Scholar. They describe themselves as a "white, queer, non-binary, disabled, neurodivergent care worker who shows up for their communities as a Disability Justice and Mad Liberation educator and organizer, parent, doula, peer supporter, writer, and conflict intervention facilitator."
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