Chapters 101

April Chapter of the Month: Virginia State University

Congratulations to the Active Minds chapter at Virginia State University for being selected as the April Chapter of the Month!  The chapter’s stigma-fighting programs this semester have successfully generated conversations about mental health on the VSU campus, and the national office couldn’t be prouder to recognize their efforts.

Active Minds at VSU recently hosted Happiness Day to promote positivity and well-being to the campus community.  The chapter set up an interactive display in a highly-trafficked area of campus and drew students, faculty, and staff to the event to engage with items that represented happiness.  The chapter also distributed freebies with positive messaging to attendees, which was clearly appreciated during what can be a stressful spring semester.

Additionally, the chapter created a short and engaging video that showcases what students think when they hear about “mental health issues.”  Students who were interviewed for the video were cognizant of the impact that stigma has and mentioned the importance of raising awareness for mental health on college campuses and within minority communities.

In September 2016, the chapter collaborated with their local Community Service Board and held a suicide awareness walk on campus followed by a suicide awareness forum.  At the forum, students had open discussions about how suicide had impacted their lives and the importance of seeking help.  The chapter’s suicide prevention messaging reached 60 members of the campus community through these two events and deepened their ties to their local community.

What’s been instrumental to the chapter’s success at VSU so far?  Their executive board says, “It is important to find a core group of volunteers who support the mission of Active Minds and are committed to getting out the message and having creative programs on campus. We have student volunteers who are passionate about the cause and have personal connections to those suffering from mental illness. We also have an advisor who is very committed to the mission of Active Minds and supportive of our ideas.”

Next up in the spring semester, Active Minds at VSU plans to collaborate with the Violence Prevention Coordinator and have a tabling event for Safety Day, which will feature a variety of speakers and informational tables to raise awareness for mental health, suicide awareness and prevention, alcohol awareness and prevention, sexual assault awareness and prevention, fire safety, and personal safety on campus. The chapter will also host activities during Stress Less Week to remind students of the importance of self-care during finals.

Congratulations again to Active Minds at Virginia State University!  The national office is inspired by the work you are doing on your campus and in your local community to fight stigma and raise awareness for mental health and suicide prevention.