Why Active Minds Honors the Healthiest Campuses in America

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HCA_mainbanner_post-withlogosThis is a big day at Active Minds: We just named the winners of the 2016 Healthy Campus Award. Congratulations to each of the winning institutions (You can learn all about why they won here):

  • California State University, Long Beach (Long Beach, CA)
  • Jefferson College (Hillsboro, MO)
  • Lawrence University (Appleton, WI)
  • Sacramento State (Sacramento, CA)
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL)
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (Madison, WI)

Instead of just re-capping why each school won, I wanted to share why Active Minds gives out this award in the first place. As a national non-profit with a small staff, our time and resources are limited. There are only so many projects and initiatives we can take on. So why is the Healthy Campus Award one of them? Let me explain.

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5 Ways to Get Ready for Suicide Prevention Month

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Active Minds’ Suicide Prevention Month kicks off on September 10, and there are several new, exciting ways to get involved! This year’s theme is The World Needs You Here, and we are excited to announce our first-ever chapter fundraising product, The World Needs You Here bracelets (see below for details!). Start getting ready for Suicide Prevention Month today:

1. Order “The World Needs You Here” Bracelets: Sign-up for a box of FREE bracelets (shipping/handling not included) to sell on campus to raise funds for suicide prevention through Active Minds, Inc. All proceeds will benefit the Active Minds national movement and will be credited to your chapter’s national fundraising goal.

2. Download the toolkit: Download Active Minds’ free Suicide Prevention Month toolkit, which includes a programming & prevention kit, panel discussion guide, and social media tools. We’re also co-hosting a Twitter chat with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on Friday, September 9 (World Suicide Prevention Day) from 1-2:30 pm ET. Join us!

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Struggling with Anxiety? Try Taking a Tap Class

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I’ve been living with terrible anxiety since I was a little girl. As I’ve grown older, I’ve tried a ton of remedies — yoga, coloring books, talk therapy, medication, meditation, mindfulness, massage therapy, aromatherapy and all the self-care and self-help books I could find. And I’ve got to be honest with you all, my dear blog readers — none of them hold a candle to tap dance.

I danced when I was young and tap was always my favorite class. Since I’m about to start grad school (as well as an intense internship), I decided to re-visit the great art of tap dance so I had some kind of physical outlet during this stressful period.

I’ve only been taking classes for a few weeks and it’s already done wonders for my anxiety.  Here are 4 ways tap dance has helped me — and 4 reasons you should try it, too.

1. You get to let out all of your frustrations.

The whole crux of tap dancing is stomping your feet on the ground — which is incredibly cathartic for someone who’s dealing with intense anxiety or stress. You can physically release all the pent-up feelings that us anxious folks typically hold onto. Continue Reading

Suicide Prevention Month is Coming Up. We Want You to Blog for Us.

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Active Minds is currently accepting blog submissions for our Suicide Prevention Month series. Please see submission guidelines and instructions here

There are a bunch of different reasons someone might submit a blog post for our Suicide Prevention Month campaign, but here are five we think are particularly universal.

1. Let people know they’re not alone.
One of the most powerful gifts we can give to each other is sharing our experiences. When you share your story about mental health disorders and suicidality, you let people who are struggling know they are not alone and help is out there.

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8 Ways Active Minds Chapters Can Get Ready for the Fall Semester

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With September right around the corner, now is a great time to start planning for your chapter’s success in the 2016-2017 academic year. Here are some of our top tips for getting the year off on the right foot:

1. Study up on the new ratings criteria. We heard your feedback on ratings, inventories and more. Check out the new ratings to make sure you’re on track to be a five-star chapter!

2. Start planning Suicide Prevention Month. Share a post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr from September 10 to October 3 with #ReasonsISpeak and the reasons you combat the silence surrounding suicide and mental illness. Feeling inspired? Submit a post to our Suicide Prevention Month blog.

3. Check out the new and improved Fundraising Resources, including brand new chapter fundraising pages. Will your chapter be the first to raise $1,000 and get on our leaderboard?

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An Open Letter to Congresswoman Karen Bass on #DiagnoseTrump

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Dear Congresswoman Bass,

I am writing to you as a Democrat, a mental health advocate, a graduate student in clinical and counseling psychology, and as someone who deals with mental health problems himself. These aspects of me are important to know because when I saw your Change.org petition to #DiagnoseTrump, each of these aspects reacted in a different way.

As a Democrat, I don’t disagree with your concern about the behavior of Donald Trump and his ability to lead his country. But as a Democrat – as a voter – I don’t need a diagnosis to know I’m not voting for Mr. Trump this fall. Attacks on not only the character of an individual but on their health are not the way I want my party to lead their campaign. As a Democrat yourself I’m sure you can agree.

As a mental health advocate, I have worked with organizations like Active Minds to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and illness. Petitions like these stigmatize mental health because they diminish the severity Mr. Trump’s beliefs, feelings, and behaviors possess on their own, and instead contribute them to mental illness. When events and individuals in the world make us uncomfortable, it is easy to turn to an explanation like mental illness. I urge you not to make the same connection.

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9 Mental Health Items Every Student Needs on Their Back-to-School Shopping List

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Did you know that when you shop Amazon Smile, a portion of all your sales can go to Active Minds and our life-saving work? Pretty cool, huh? Start shopping at smile.amazon.com and help us change the world!

Now that August is officially upon us, it’s time for new and returning college students to get ready to head back to campus. And with that comes the endless back-to-school shopping trips so you can stock up on everything you need — textbooks, snacks, school supplies, dorm decorations and so much more.

But do you have anything on that list to help support your mental health? Take a look at these nine items, all of which have helped me better take care of my mental (and physical) health during the school year.

Sleep

It’s one of the most important (and most frequently sacrificed) aspects of mental health maintenance — especially for college students. I’m a big fan of sleep (and good sleep at that). Here are some of the products I’ve used to help myself get eight full hours of shut-eye each night:

1. A White Noise Sound Machine ($49.89)

This handy gadget is perfect for anyone who has a noisy roommate. It has a built-in fan that re-creates the sound of rushing air, creating “white noise” and effectively blocking out noise on a broad range of frequencies. Fraternity brothers chanting outside? No problem. Roommate stumbling in after a fun night out? You can’t hear them, you’re fast asleep.

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You’re Invited! Join Us at Active Minds’ DC Casino Night

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Active Minds Casino Night

Join us for an evening of fun and games at our DC Area Casino Night fundraising event on Saturday, October 8, 2016 from 7:30 pm – 11:30 pm.

The event will be held at the Woodmont Country Club (1201 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland). Join us for cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, casino-style games and an amazing silent auction. Our special guest of the evening with be MD State Sen. Jamie B. Raskin.

Purchase your tickets today!

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Be Yourself. It’s Your Most Powerful Tool.

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Collen is a member of the Active Minds Speakers Bureau. Bring her to your campus to speak about mental health. 

My family recently took a trip to Disney World. My little boy, Paul, had a heart transplant last year and this was his Make a Wish Trip.

The Orlando airport departure area experience is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Security is a nightmare and after a flagged bag and an almost missed flight, my family finally made it to flight 992.

I am sitting with two kids, Paul (4) and Georgia (2). As we take off, the flight attendants play a song from top gun and we sing it. We try to play go fish. We talk about how planes work and when snacks will arrive. We read books and sing some more.

I’m doing the best I can to entertain my tired and hungry children when this woman in the row in front of me stands up, turns around, glares at me and says “I appreciate what you’re doing with your children but you are just very loud.”

“Excuse me?” I say.This can’t be real. 

“I have no problem with your children but you are just too loud.”

Yep, that’s what she said. 

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Mental Health Weekly News Wrap Up: July 29

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Mental Health: Let’s Talk About Culture, Race And Ethnicity

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As Minority Mental Health Month winds down, it is important to take a step back and remind ourselves that mental illness affects us all. Minority communities are less likely to receive mental health care than whites. Minorities have a long list of disparities when it comes to mental health care from racism to lack of cultural sensitivity. It’s time to educate people mental health without disregarding the different experiences minorities may encounter.

Being Transgender Is Not a Mental Disorder

In the past, studies have shown being transgender is a form of mental illness. But recent studies argue that being transgender is a condition related to sexual health. Many found their mental illness not from the transition itself, but from the social rejection and violence that comes with being transgender. The stigma associated with the transgender community needs to come to an end just as much as mental illness.

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