The Mental Illness Maintenance Initiative, or MiMi, is a system to help college aged students manage and maintain healthy life habits that are essential for mental health such as eating, exercising, sleeping the right amount, and setting a range of goals. There are three parts to the system: an app, a guided journal, and a website. 
Artist/Thesis Statement
For as long as I can remember I have lived and sometimes struggled with mental illness. As I prepared to enter college, I had anxieties most kids don't have to think about. Am I going to be able to wake up? Where do I find a therapist with no car? Where do I fill my prescriptions? What if my roommates steal my medicine? How do I get accommodations?  How am I going to keep up my wellness so far from my support system, where I don't know anyone? Luckily, I was very close with my high school's resource officer who wrote me “Kaity’s guide to being a human,” which was a journal full of reminders on how to keep my head up and succeed on my own. However, I still struggled for my first three years of college. I couldn’t find a therapist, the wellness center said they couldn't help me, and I was afraid to take my medicine because of a bad roommate experience. Eventually, during my junior year I was finally able to get the support and help I needed to succeed.  Through my experience of deeply struggling to adjust to college I realized there is an easier way. 
The mission and focus of MiMi is to help smooth the transition into college for students who have diagnosed mental illnesses so they don’t have to struggle as long as I did. The Mental Illness Maintenance Initiative, or MiMi, is a system to help college-aged students manage and maintain healthy life habits that are essential for mental health such as: eating, exercising, sleeping the right amount, and setting a range of goals. In my five years of being a college student, I have witnessed and experienced how difficult it can be to stay on top of smaller habits when the stress of deadlines is met within an atmosphere of constant change and competition. I have also noticed that when these small habits fall by the wayside, the negative impact is huge. I developed a three part system to help college students prevent digging themselves into a hole. The system consists of an app, website, and guided journal. Each provides support in different but very helpful ways.

The first part of the system is an app. The MiMi app is heavily influenced by the structure and stability model that most mental hospital inpatient programs use. The major components are daily check ins, goal setting, and a coping skill generator.  The daily check in serves as a stable form of accountability for completing daily habits such as showering, eating, sleeping, and meeting set goals. Much like in an inpatient setting students are asked to check in each day as well as set daily goals so each day has a clear mission or purpose. Students are rewarded the more continuous days they check in. The third component of the app is the coping skill generator, which functions much like the staff of a program, providing new coping skills and reminding students of old ones already in their mental health tool belt. 

Guided Journal
The second component to the system is a guided journal. Multiple studies performed by the Harvard Business School have shown that journaling is the number one effective tool someone can have to maintain their mental health. It allows the students to get what is bothering them out of their head and on paper to look back to on a later date, either when they are ready to unpack it with a therapist or try and work through it themselves. Getting their thoughts down on paper allows them to clear up their mind and focus on the tasks at hand. Journaling also allows for the delayed gratification of looking back and rediscovering small parts or their lives and events that might be affecting them that they may have forgotten. However, for all of the benefits of journaling many people still find trouble sitting down and starting. The dreaded blank page seems overwhelming and they don't know what to write. So I created a guided journal with prompts in list making, writing, and drawing that center around mental well being without being clinical. Each prompt serves a particular mood and can be accomplished in any order. 

The third part of the system is the MiMi Website. The primary function of the website is to house a blog that is specific to navigating the challenges of college. Some topics include advocating for accommodations with professors, living with roommates for the first time, making a dorm feel like your safe space, and how and when to talk to new friends about your mental illness. The website also includes the ability to order a guided journal and watch a click through of the app. 
Process Book

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