A Russian and political science double major from Newton, N.C., Bass said, “Freshman year, I didn’t get too involved, and I honestly sank into probably the deepest period of depression that I’d ever encountered in my life just because I felt so alone, and I didn’t feel connected to resources on campus that could help me with that.”
Bass said his time helping manage David Marsh’s student body president campaign last spring inspired him to pursue the Mr. UNC position and shaped his service project idea.
“Even though the campaign was unsuccessful, it was a really cool experience to understand the issues that are facing our campus right now,” he said. “One of the issues I became really passionate about was mental health and sexual assault awareness.”
Bass’ service project, Carolina In My Mind, involves two overarching goals with five steps to achieve them. The two goals are connecting students with existing mental health resources on campus and destigmatizing students’ perspective of mental health disorders.
Bass said the part of his project he is most excited for is a coalition of six mental health organizations on campus that will meet weekly.
“I really want this coalition to be something that transcends my time at Carolina and makes an impact on our campus,” Bass said.
Some of the project’s components include adding a mental health unit to the lifetime fitness curriculum, working with Rethink: Psychiatric Illness to create a health assembly for schools in the Chapel Hill area and creating an additional mental health scene for the interactive theater performance at first-year orientations.
“We have to quite literally change the culture of the student body as a whole. It has to be through education and a bottom-up approach,” he said.
Carolina In My Mind has been endorsed by Embody Carolina, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Achordants, Cadence, the National Panhellenic Council, UNC Pauper Players and UNC Admissions Ambassadors.
Bass said his service project is already making an impact with students on campus and other universities who are reaching out to learn more.
“I see this position not as a popularity contest but as a role for positive change and I really want to be the individual who does that,” he said.