‘Active Minds’ forms campus chapter in hopes of changing perceptions of mental health

Cardinal & Cream

Active Minds, a new student organization that will promote mental health, will soon be available on campus.

It is expected to be up and running by the end of this semester.

Active Minds is a national non-profit organization across college campuses that empowers students to change the conversation about and perception of mental health by educating and encouraging those who need to seek help.

“Active Minds will benefit Union in a number of ways – one of which will be by fighting against the stigma surrounding mental health and illness,” said Jamie McDonald, senior social work major. “It will be a leading force in changing the culture on campus and in the community by providing information and resources about mental health, encouraging students to speak up and seek help as soon as it is apparent it is needed and creating a comfortable environment for open conversation about mental health.”

More than 450 chapters are active on college campuses throughout the United States.

“Understanding mental illness is important for all of us,” said Mary Anne Poe, associate dean and professor of social work. “This organization works to help educate communities about mental illness, particularly on university campuses and communities.”

Upon realizing that no other organization that meets these needs exists on campus, McDonald approached the Social Work Department about bringing Active Minds to campus.

McDonald is active in organizing informational meetings, collaborating with students and working with the department to create a chapter of the organization here.

McDonald and others are working with Tammy Patton, visiting professor of social work, Beth Wilson, associate professor of social work, Todd Stanfield, professor of social work and Active Minds Inc.

The group will be promoted across campus in a variety of ways with press releases, events and open meetings, posters, fliers and social media and local newspapers.

A panel also will be available to answer any questions people may have.

“One of the ways we are planning to provide educational information and resources is through an open forum,” McDonald said. “In layman’s terms, a group of mental health professionals from the community will come together as a panel and answer questions about what mental health is, what it is not and how it manifests itself in our lives.”

Once the chapter does officially come to campus, the organization will organize awareness campaigns on campus such as National Day Without Stigma, Stress Less Week, Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Mental Health Awareness Month, Step Inside my Head, Send Silence Packing and more events.

“My personal experience with mental health made me realize how important it is for students to be aware of resources on campus, to be educated about mental health and to know they are not alone in their struggles,” McDonald said. “Active Minds is more than just another student organization – it is a community of people dedicated to mental health outreach.”