Alison Malmon – Active Minds Blog Changing the conversation about mental health Tue, 18 Jul 2017 21:00:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Checking My Crystal Ball Wed, 22 Mar 2017 13:33:07 +0000 About this time every spring, the cherry blossoms bloom and I’m on my way to a two-day committee meeting for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It’s one of my favorite meetings of the year and, incredibly, this was my twelfth year in a row attending.

I’m a big believer in the Lifeline as a vital resource — the country depends on this federally-funded service to make 24/7 phone and chat lines available to anyone thinking about suicide. And I’m always proud to represent the millions of college students who struggle with mental health issues or have experienced suicide. Around the table with me were representatives from different communities impacted by suicide, including the LGBTQ community, veterans, and Native Americans, among many others.

The topic this year was The Future. What can and should suicide prevention look like in the years ahead?

It’s tough to project. A couple of years ago, my crystal ball had no idea, for example, that Facebook would play such an important role. Facebook’s online tool allows people to report if a friend is posting worrisome messages about suicide so they can be directed to resources such as the Lifeline. Finding ways to harness technology for suicide prevention is something we’re very interested in at Active Minds — students are always on the leading edge.

No matter what the technology, though, the person at the other end is what really counts. We see this every day in the way students reach out to their peers who are struggling or when the members of an Active Minds chapter do everything they can to make sure mental health is something that’s talked about on campus.

When I look into the future, I see the continued need for strong social connections that support and catch people. Education, awareness, understanding — as early as possible and wherever students are.

In need of help for yourself or a friend? Call the Lifeline, anytime, at 1-800-273-8255 or visit

Welcome to Wentworth Miller, Active Minds Ambassador Tue, 18 Oct 2016 04:10:22 +0000 wentworth_blog_768x384

Our office manager brought the staff meeting to a complete stop when he looked at his laptop and said, “We just got an email from Wentworth Miller.”

Stunned silence. Is it spam?

No, it looks legit.

And that’s when the energy in the room went sky high!

For several months, many of us had been following Wentworth from afar. We admired him then, as we do now, for his candor and commitment to using his experiences and celebrity to help change the conversation about mental health.

It has been a privilege to get to know the actor and screenwriter, and learn even more about his passion for suicide prevention and mental health awareness. And it is a true honor today to announce Wentworth Miller as Active Minds’ Ambassador for Mental Health.

His interest and dedication of time and energy is rooted in a deep, authentic commitment to fighting the stigma that surrounds mental health issues. As he told us:

“As someone who knows what it’s like to struggle with depression, I want to help give voice to the many people living with mental health issues. I want to help assure them that they’re not alone. These issues can be hard to discuss. It can be hard to start the conversation. So letting people know that it’s okay to ask for help is extremely important.

“I’m really proud to be part of the Active Minds’ movement for change, especially because college was a difficult time for me. This organization does so much for students, and that kind of work is close to my heart.”

We look forward to working alongside Wentworth Miller on our shared cause, in partnership with the more than 12,000 student members and the thousands of community supporters across the country who are at the heart of the Active Minds movement.

A warm welcome to you, #StigmaFighter!

Alison Malmon
Founder and Executive Director
Active Minds

» Read the press release here.

Thank You to Our 2016 Casino Night DC Sponsors Mon, 10 Oct 2016 14:02:48 +0000 clo-ticket_header-2016

Over the weekend, #StigmaFighters joined together at Active Minds’ Annual DC Casino Night. This spectacular event would not be possible without the support of our dedicated sponsors, who are truly going all in to support college student mental health awareness.

I want to send a big thank you to the following Corporate & Individual for help making this event a reality:






Melissa & Bradley Blanken

Antoinette & Dwight Bush

Ronya Corey & Merrill Lynch

Kim & John Cutler

Paul Di Vito & John Silvia

Ginny Feldman & Andy Wohl

Leslie & John Friedson

Julie & Marc Kantor

William J. Lammers

Charla & Steven Lerman

Karen & Bruce Levenson


Tishman Speyer

This event would also not be possible without our dedicated Host Committee. Special thanks to these fine folks:


Why Active Minds Honors the Healthiest Campuses in America Tue, 23 Aug 2016 19:37:43 +0000 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.

The Active Minds Healthy Campus Award recognizes and celebrates U.S. colleges and universities that are prioritizing health and making great progress towards creating a campus that promotes the health and well-being of its students. It champions schools giving equal priority, attention, and investment to mental health alongside physical health.

Under the direction of Sara Abelson, Active Minds’ Vice President for Student Health and Wellness, the Award gives Active Minds the chance to recognize what’s going right. Sara and I have been having conversations for years about how student health only becomes a topic of public conversation when there’s a tragedy, like a student suicide or school shooting. The media headlines only focus on what schools are doing wrong and where they are falling short. And when success in campus health is discussed, mental health is often ignored.

We were tired of this trend. We wanted to change the conversation (that’s kind of our thing).

So we developed the Active Minds Healthy Campus Award to draw attention to the schools that are getting it right — defining health broadly; prioritizing long-term, strategic approaches; and championing student voices. It’s our hope that this award will inspire and encourage other universities and colleges to view student health holistically — because as we often say at Active Minds, there’s no such thing as health without both physical and mental health.

And we’re not just talking about big schools with big budgets. Yes, some of our winning institutions are large, public universities with impressive resources. But some are small community colleges in rural communities. Some are arts colleges in urban settings. Some are private institutions. The diversity of our winners shows that it’s possible for every campus to build a healthy community.

True to the Active Minds mission, the award is unique in valuing student input and leadership. The application requires endorsement by the student body, in addition to that from the school’s president. Each winning school provided evidence that campus efforts are positively impacting student’s actual experiences on campus. Student leaders were part of the panel of judges and played a key part in assessing applicants, judging, and ultimately selecting the winners.

I hope you’ll join me in congratulating the winners of the 2016 Active Minds Healthy Campus Award. Not only are they creating campuses where every student has the opportunity to thrive, they are broadening the way we all think about, care for, and value health and wellness in all of its dimensions.


A Message from Alison: Today is the Day Thu, 30 Jun 2016 12:37:35 +0000 Alison-EOY-FB

I wish you could personally meet the students who benefit from your donations. Students like Victoria Pae, a recent graduate from Boston University who found health and success through Active Minds, and Luke Beischel, who looks back with appreciation at the difference that Active Minds makes and is now a major contributor.

They’re the reason for our work, but you’re the reason for their success.

Today, June 30, is the last day of our fiscal year. We’re short by just $28,465 in meeting our annual giving goal. You can help us finish strong and keep the successes coming by donating $50 or $100 or whatever is most meaningful to you.

You have a tremendous impact when you support Active Minds. Today’s the day – please donate now and be one of our final-stretch financial contributors.


Thank You to Our 2016 Casino Night NYC Sponsors Tue, 07 Jun 2016 13:51:26 +0000 Invitation-With_LogoTomorrow night, #StigmaFighters from all over the East Coast will join together at Active Minds’ 3rd Annual NYC Casino Night. This spectacular event would not be possible without the support of our dedicated sponsors, who truly are going all in to support college student mental health awareness.

I want to send a big thank you to the following Corporate & Individual for help making this event a reality:


Tomorrow’s event would also not be possible without our dedicated Host Committee. Special thanks to these fine folks:

2016 NYC Host Committee

Steven & Charla Lerman

Jeremy & Erika Shure

 Bradley & Melissa Blanken Anthony Bongiorno Ken Brody
Penelope & Tom Chiusano Paul Di Vito Cathy Elias & Louie Greenberg
Deborah & Steven Epstein Jennifer Hartstein Rhoda & Stuart Holzer
Marc & Julie Kantor Samantha & Steven Kaplan Laurie Lawrence
Nancy & Richard Leber Zachary Lerman Stephanie & Andrew Levinson
Marty Lomazow Danielle Love Alison Malmon
Susan Pondfield & Bill Mentlik Leah Holzer & Ethan Mitchell Barbara & Mark Mutterperl
Tara & Christopher Petrillo Lisa Roitman Emily Lerman & Eric Taylor
Dana & Adam Wilkins  
Active Minds is Hiring a Chief Operating Officer & Communications Coordinator Tue, 24 May 2016 12:26:03 +0000 CiQvE35WUAAM1mgAre you passionate about mental health awareness? Are you looking to join an innovative and fun team? Active Minds is hiring for two positions — you might be the person we’re looking for!

We’re currently hiring for a Chief Operating Officer and Communications Coordinator.

The COO is responsible for assisting in the management of the day-to-day operations of Active Minds. Reporting to the Executive Director,the COO will provide leadership and supervision for human resources, technology, finances, and partnerships and assist the ED in determining the operational objectives that best support the organization’s mission and long-range goals.

The Communications Coordinator is responsible for coordinating email marketing, website content creation, social media, and earned media initiatives. We’re looking for someone who lives and breathes social media and the online world.

Interested in either of the positions? Check out the full listings and apply today!

Registration is Now Open for #MHCC16 Mon, 23 May 2016 12:43:11 +0000 Greetings from Sacramento

We’re excited to announce that registration is now open for the 13th National Mental Health on Campus Conference! #MHCC16 will be held November 4-6, 2016 at Sacramento State in Sacramento, California.

This is the only national conference addressing college student mental health and young adult advocacy. The conference brings together hundreds of experts, change-agents and leaders from across the country and educates, energizes and inspires the next generation of mental health advocates.

Early Bird registration prices are only available for a limited time, so grab your tickets quick! Questions? Email or check out our FAQ page.

PS: Stay tuned for the official conference logo and theme in the next few weeks!

Victoria is Ready to Take on the World Thu, 19 May 2016 12:05:31 +0000 Graduate
Students who lead Active Minds chapters are among the best and the brightest on college campuses. They are part of a new generation that is speaking openly, acting courageously, and changing the conversation around mental health.
Case in point — Victoria Pae, outgoing president of the Active Minds chapter at Boston University, who inspires us in so many ways. Read her story below!

During freshman year at Boston University, I wouldn’t admit I had a problem. Everyone else seemed to have it together. I kept telling myself it was all in my head, to just get over it.

And then I found Active Minds.

It was through the BU chapter that I realized it’s ok to ask for help. Because of Active Minds, I ended up getting support for the anxiety I was battling. The chapter members there never judged me; they strengthened me with hope.

Active Minds at Boston University

By senior year, I became president of the chapter. We were very active in trying to make BU a better place for all students. I worked with the administration on university-wide reform efforts to reduce the stigma around mental illness and also agitated for more counseling resources.

It’s funny, looking back, how I went from not wanting to admit any mental illness — not even to myself!— to becoming a student leader and frequently being interviewed in newspapers about the need to be open about it.

This past Sunday was BU’s graduation. I wore a blue and green Active Minds graduation cord with my red cap and gown — Active Minds and my college experience all tied together. Next month, I start a full-time job with a Boston-area hospital.

While I know there’ll be challenges ahead, I also know I’ll be able to handle them. I’m ready to take on whatever the world has in store.

My one wish? That every student, at every college, could have Active Minds there to provide support and opportunity — like it did for me.

— Victoria

By supporting Active Minds, you allows us to provide programs and services that encourage students to seek help when they need it — and then to go forth to take on the world.

Join us today in making a difference. Donate to Active Minds >>

Join Active Minds at the DC Rock Your Bod Rally Tue, 10 May 2016 12:05:47 +0000 d3623596-105b-4394-a744-fb8539000b83Live in the DC area? Need plans for this Saturday? We’ve got you covered. Join Active Minds and Sarah Fraser, local media personality and host of the Hey Frase podcast, at ROCK YOUR BOD – a positive body image rally on Saturday, May 14th, 2016. The ROCKYOUR BOD rally supports the acceptance all people, no matter their shape or size. The rally will spread the message of positive body image and wellness.

ROCK YOUR BOD will take place at the National Sylvan Theater which is located on the grounds of the National Mall. Festivities will begin at 11am and are set to conclude at 1pm. Event is rain or shine.

Several Active Minds staff members will be at the rally, accepting donations and raising awareness about mental health. Come by our table and say hi!

Retailer South Moon Under will be the headline sponsor of ROCK YOUR BOD and will outfit Sarah Fraser with a swimsuit to wear during the rally so she can “rock her bod” while hosting. International D.J. and music producer D.J. Neekola will provide hype music and CorePower Yoga will lead a brief warm-up yoga session (for attendees that wish to participate).

Chuck Carroll, the Weight Loss Champion, will speak about his devotion to a healthy lifestyle. Other inspirational speakers will address the crowd to share messages of positivity and acceptance. Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company will provide bottled water for the event. Pro Protein peanut butter aficionados from Better Beast will be distributing samples of peanut butter protein balls. Rally participants are invited to take part in the interactive collaborative art project presented by positive artist Kelly M. Hogan.

The ROCK YOUR BOD positive body image rally is free and open to the public. Individuals and families are encouraged to join for a day of celebration and acceptance. Participants are encouraged (but not required) to wear swimsuits. Event is rain or shine.

RSVP to the Facebook event. We hope to see you there!