By: Marie Raymond
Here at Shenandoah, there are 121 clubs and organizations on campus. One of the clubs here on campus is Active Minds. Just like many of the other clubs and organizations, Active Minds is a chapter from a national organization. My name is Marie Raymond, and I am the President of Active Minds here at Shenandoah University’s chapter. I am a Music Production and Recording Technology ‘22 student and a member of the Buzzin’ Dozen Pep Band. I was asked to write this article to go into more depth about what Active Minds is and our goal this year.
Active Minds is a national organization, to change the conversation about mental health. It was founded 16 years ago by a University of Pennsylvania student, Allison Malmon. She started Active Minds because of her brother suffering from depression that was left untreated, and later on, he ended his life. She went on to make a change, to change the conversation because she also noticed that college students were ignoring their mental health illnesses instead of talking about them head-on. Now, 16 years later, there are 550 chapters across the nation who are all willing to change the conversation about mental health in their college or high school campuses.
Here at Shenandoah University, our main goal is to simply change the conversation about mental health, since that is our national organization’s mission. Another goal is to increase awareness to all students, faculty, and staff about issues surrounding mental health, symptoms related to mental health disorders, and providing mental health resources both on campus and the surrounding community. We also want students to feel as if they are in a safe, and comfortable environment to speak up about mental health, discussing mental health-related issues, and if needed seeking help.
Active Minds at SU provides activities for students, staff, and faculty to get involved. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are looking on how can we spread awareness on campus without doing a booth this year. One of the ideas that we have been doing is the chalking event. Where we go around on campus and chalk up the sidewalks with positive messages and quotes about mental health and to motivate students positively. Another idea is to do a contactless candygram for students, so they can send their friends a sweet message. We will also try to do something for different mental health awareness months, we won’t know what that is until we get closer to the semester. Because of COVID-19, things are different and it will affect students differently. Our goal this year and this upcoming semester are: we want students to be at home and to not be afraid to reach out if they are struggling due to the massive amount of change we are all going to face.
Finally, Active Minds is more than just a mental health advocate club, it is a safe place for anyone and everyone. We are still looking into what our meetings are going to look like. We will post on our Facebook page: Active Minds at Shenandoah University and our Instagram: @suactiveminds when we finalize our plans. If you are interested in joining, here is our google form link: https://forms.gle/SK7dmAYvK18bx7Q97 and if you have any questions to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or my email address email@example.com. The club and I hope you can join us this year. I am sending thoughtful and wonderful thoughts your way. Stay healthy and safe.