WYMA

Into the Fall

Redesigned website. For autumn hues.

Latest Updates

WYMA welcomed 45 new Wymakers in the Fall of 2021, comprise of psychology major students from Harvard University, Columbia University, Univeristy of Chicago, John Hopkins Univeristy, Northwestern University, Rice Univeristy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Peking University, University College London, and more.

OUR PROMISES

To make mental health support more accessible, affordable, and sustainable for everyone, WYMA assembles like-minded change makers to aligns incentives around peer-based mental health services. 

Our Story

As a native of China, Yuyao Huang saw first-hand how stigma surrounding mental health was devastating his high school community. He always believes one must support the community with actions and increase the conversation around mental health by connecting and sharing societal resources. Inherently curious, he began asking himself why low-cost peer-based mental health services was virtually absent in China. In 2017, he worked with his high school friends, seeking to end the devastating stigma surrounding today’s most prevalent public health crisis. And with that spirit of wonder, the WYMA journey began. 

After years of tinkering and researching, Yuyao teamed up with Cecilia Zhao, a long-time follower of WYMA, and a psychology student with ICF certified coaching skills. Together, they crafted a revolutionary peer-based mental health service “guiding”, designed specifically for the Chinese youth population. The outcome? WYMA becomes China’s leading organization focused on supporting the mental health and emotional well-being of adolescents and young adults with an ongoing mantra to make things work in a better way.

To One.

Founded in 2017, WYMA is China’s leading organization focused on supporting the mental health and emotional well-being of adolescents and young adults. 

We are supporting youth with peer-based mental health services and initiatives; connecting with strategic partners to promote mental health awareness and dialogue; and enlightening the community with activist research and implementation science.

With our signature revolutionary peer-based mental health service “Peer Guiding” grounded in findings from WYMA Research Initiative, we directly support Chinese high school and college students with mental wellbeing problems. Comprised of members from more than 50 campuses, we engage in mental health conversations, through our services, events, advocacy, outreach, and more. 

The Problem

WYMA was formed with the understanding that the mental health crisis in China is fueled by three barriers – cost, access, stigma. 

Cost

In China, an estimated 173 million people suffer from mental disorders, according to the latest available official data from 2015. This number was limited to only 90 million in 2009. While mental health issues has become increasingly prominent alongside other illness in the recent years, the exorbitant amount of cost has hindered families to seek for prompt assistance for recovery. The absence of coverage for health insurance in China has shut the door away from young students and adult to reach out.

Access

Looking for mental health support in China can be overwhelming. Despite the growing number of those who are troubled by it, the country’s service provider (namely psychotherapist, psychiatrist, mental health social workers) to patient ratio remains very low. Unlike the counseling services in the U.S., the lack of professional certificate regulations have rendered the counseling market full of practitioner with limited hands-on experiences.

Stigma

Even with the growing access and lower financial burden, many are still reluctant to seek help due to implicit and explicit stigmatization toward mental issues and service users as studies supported. Reported barriers originated by stigmatization has prevented patients to actively receive social support from family and communities, which hold indispensable weights for recovery.

Our Services

Studies have shown that a way to significantly prevent the onset and recurrence of depression with collective social engagements (Ormel 2019). Facing the high cost in counseling services, inconvenient resource access, ingrained stigmatization against people with mental health illness, WYMA initiated a new peer-based approach to resolve the current plight among young generations. We are committed to develop a free, caring, humanistic service backed up by academic research, coaching and counseling skill sets to resolve the psychological needs of our times. 

By combining traditional peer counseling and coaching techniques, WYMA Peer Guiding is a long-term accompanying service to mentally support customers’ wellbeing by applying the skills of listening, observing and questioning. This innovative services aims to broaden self-awareness, boost inner drive and unlock potentialities of the customer. Peer Guiding offers to constantly create new exploration space in the dialogue while enhancing the existing resources and creativity of current visitors.

Peer Counseling originated in 1971 in a school in California, USA, and was independently guided by psychologist Barbara Varenhorst and child psychiatrist Beatrix Hamburg. Different from counseling practitioners, peer counselors usually share the same age as the client, and benefiting the client through training and learning basic psychological theories, counseling skills for emotional counseling, and crisis intervention. The concept of peer service is applied to unique relationships between peers, based on the student population being more inclined to seek help from peers. Studies have found that when we are with people who have similar experiences or things in common, we tend to feel empathy and feel what they are feeling. 

Our Research

WYMA Research Initiative is an interdisciplinary research program targeted at improving mental health and well-being by focusing on academic research and societal implementation. Guided by experienced mentors, our team aims to tackle tough questions on mental health and find innovative applications of academic research to make a tangible impact. WYMA Research Initiative creates a supportive community for scholars to challenge their creativity, develop a strong sense of teamwork, prepare for professional careers, and build a firm foundation in research skills

We are a group of psychology majors and enthusiasts who are passionate about improving people’s mental well-being. At first, we vacillated between pursuing a path in research and a path in activism. We felt that research is too distant from our lives to provide a tangible impact, while activism cannot affect a change for the better unless backed by scientific conclusions. Realizing that academic research and social activism have a lot to complement each other, we envisioned bringing together a team of talented individuals to perform research and apply their conclusions to the real world.

We are a peer-led team of motivated college students who noticed an issue in society and are determined to play our part in making a change. We are committed to ensuring our research contributes to the well-being of the community and provides excellence in research and scholarship for students. We seek to provide a creative and supportive environment where our fellows can explore new ideas and find new connections. WYMA Research Initiative challenges our fellows to identify problems in the mentality system and affect a positive change. Moreover, we are also committed to helping our community through our WYMA Support Group (SG). WYMA-SG provides a platform for students to share their stories and find fellows to support each other. 

We comprise of psychology major students from

Harvard University, Columbia University, Univeristy of Chicago, John Hopkins Univeristy, Northwestern University, Rice Univeristy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Peking University, University College London, and more.

Our Team

Wymaker

Talented Together. Works brilliantly.

Interested in joining us? Start your application today!

Contact Us

Don’t hesitate to reach out with the contact information below, or send a message using the form.

email@wyma.org

Monday
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Tuesday
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Wednesday
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Thursday
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Friday
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday
Closed
Sunday
Closed