The Yale Layer is a student run magazine focused on mental health. The goal of our publication is to foster dialogue, personal narratives, and creative expression about mental health in order to shed light on the way the issue impacts our campus and our community. We publish a wide variety of writing such as poetry, personal essays, journalistic pieces, interviews, and more. In addition, we publish art of many mediums.
The Yale Layer was founded by Anna Hope Emerson (Morse College’20) in the Fall of 2017. She thought it was important to address the taboo nature of the issue by sparking conversation and promoting creative expression. Below, find her thoughts as well as thoughts from other founding members about the importance of dialogue surrounding mental health.
"Conversation around mental health remains taboo, even though it affects nearly everybody. Figuring out to be our happiest, most fulfilled selves should not be a something to shy away from. Conversely, disclosing issues of mental illness should not be an indication of weakness. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly 1 in 5 adults struggles with a mental illness. Because mental illness is so commonplace, discussion surrounding treatment and coping mechanisms should be more open rather than a subject to be silenced." - Anna Hope Emerson, Morse College’20
"Issues of mental health are prevalent and powerful in the athletic community, and keeping the discussion taboo only gives it more power and fosters an unhealthy environment for collegiate athletes." - Bebe Thompson, Jonathan Edwards College’20
"Mental health is a fraught term here at Yale. At a high-pressure institution with a culture of perfection, vulnerability (or the admission of it) is seen as anomalous -- abnormal, even. The reality, of course, is that mental health exists on a spectrum for every student: wellness and balance is a standard we all strive for, and is not exclusive to only those perceived to be "struggling" with mental health. I am deeply invested in projecting the voices of all Yale students and of all experiences because I think the discourse has for too long been centered around the alienating factor of "sickness", rather than the understanding that many at Yale have narratives that fall somewhere in between. Hopefully, through my work with the Layer, I can contribute to a more candid and normalized environment that copes with mental health in an honest and productive way." - Sabrina Bustamante, Ezra Stiles College’20
"Since coming to Yale, I have come to realize that mental health is integral to living a healthy lifestyle and growing as a person. Growing up in an immigrant family has shown me that many times, immigrants and other minorities feel the need to sacrifice their mental health in order to pursue success. It is my hope that more conversation through mediums like The Layer will help to break down the stigma towards mental health in minority communities." - Rayo Oyeyemi, Berkeley College’20
"The fast pace of our lives at Yale doesn't always allow time for self-care, self-reflection, or seeking help. I felt this more than ever at the beginning of the year and it was only the encouragement of my friends and the knowledge that I wasn't alone that led me to make time to take care of myself. I hope to combat the stigma around mental health at Yale through giving students the chance to discover they are not alone." - Sita Strother, Morse College’20
"Combating my mental illness has taught me more about myself, my friendships, my family, and Yale than anything else I’ve experienced here. Much of this is thanks to the great amount of dialogue on mental health within my own bubble, and I think it would be amazing to spread that dialogue to the entire Yale community. Understanding mental health and mental illness is something that can benefit our entire community, and I think that the Layer will foster that understanding." - Rebecca Ju, Morse College’21
"People often underestimate the redemptive, healing power of art in lieu of its aesthetic value. Indeed, self-expression is one of many tools we have to make sense of what can seem incomprehensible, overwhelming, and scary. I hope that The Yale Layer will provide an opportunity to create and share art as part of a larger effort to break the silence surrounding mental health." - Casey Odesser, Jonathan Edwards College’20