News from Active Minds – Active Minds Blog http://activemindsblog.org Changing the conversation about mental health Mon, 10 Jul 2017 17:03:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 Introducing the winner of our 2017 T-shirt Design Contest! http://activemindsblog.org/introducing-the-winner-of-our-2017-t-shirt-design-contest/ Mon, 10 Jul 2017 17:02:27 +0000 http://activemindsblog.org/?p=6755 During Mental Health Month we put out the call…and you all delivered! We’re proud to unveil the winning design from the 2017 Active Minds T-shirt Design Contest, inspired by original artwork from 14-year-old mental health advocate, Mya, of Chicago, IL!

About her design:
“I was inspired by something Wentworth Miller said on the Internet; and since he is your Ambassador, I thought he might be willing to share his message of hope. Everyone—especially someone who thinks they can’t keep on living—needs to know that they can. They can endure. They can persist. They can survive.

We interview Mya to learn more about why she was so inspired by Wentworth’s quote and what it means to her. Read on to learn more!

Name: Mya
Age: 14
Location: Chicago, IL
School: Chicago Academy High School

How did you hear about Active Minds?

I heard about it from my Grams.

Why did you select this Wentworth Miller quote and what does it mean to you?

I admire Wentworth Miller. I started to admire the actor when my Mom and I watched him in The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow, so I looked for some other of his work. I started to admire the person when my Grams told me about the work he’s been doing to help people, because one of Mr. Miller’s speeches made a friend who’s very important to her realize that his (the friend’s) behavior was suicidal and he needed and could ask for help, which he did. I too have had a few friends who suffered from deadly depression, and I’m behind anyone who’s there to help them. I have commented on Mr. Miller’s Facebook page a few times, and read the article he wrote there that the quote came from. I was surprised you hadn’t seen it. My Grams had dandelion art from her latest book cover, which she helped me modify so it would be unique for my contest entry. And since Mr. Miller is one of your Mental Health Ambassadors, I thought he might be willing to let you use his quote as a message of hope. Everyone—especially someone who thinks they can’t keep on living—needs to know that they can. They can ask for help. With that help, they can endure. They can persist. They can survive. They can be alive.

What’s something you wish more people understood about mental health?

That mental illness is real. Anyone can suffer from it, man or woman, young or old, of any race, from a homeless person to a billionaire. And anyway, isn’t mental illness really a type of physical illness, because our brain is part of our body? We’re not shamed when we have an allergy or catch the flu or break a bone (all of which I’ve done), so no one should be shamed over mental illness, either. But there is help if they just know to ask for it. And like with any illness they could catch, with help they have a chance to also “catch” good health, physical and mental.

What do you like to do for fun?

I really enjoy doing cosplay at anime conventions, designing my own costumes and make-up. Besides character make-up, I’ve also been learning glam make-up, like the “Blue Glam” look in my photo. I have always been interested in designing clothes, which is why I was excited about designing something for your contest. With the prize, I plan to give a little back to Active Minds as a contribution, and then use the rest for some anime wigs I want.

What’s something people would be surprised to discover about you?

Well, my friends will be surprised to discover I won this contest…because I sure was. But really, people might be surprised I can already handle a jet ski by myself and have a license, because my Dad taught me out on Lake Michigan.


The 2017 Limited Edition T-shirt is only on sale for three weeks! You can purchase yours HERE.

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NSCS & Active Minds http://activemindsblog.org/nscs-active-minds/ Mon, 10 Jul 2017 13:17:54 +0000 http://activemindsblog.org/?p=6761 We’re so thrilled to announce our new partnership with the National Society of Collegiate Scholars! Full transcript of the video below.

Alison: Hello, Active Minds. I’m excited to be here with my friend, Steve Loflin, to announce our new partnership with the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

Steve: NSCS was an organization that I really wanted to start back in 1994 to make a difference for first and second year college students. We’ve come to realize that NSCS is really a great opportunity to provide leadership opportunities, scholarships, and even help people think about their future. But as an organization, one of the things that’s also become more important to us is to really look for ways to support our students and to really help them have the most productive college experience possible.

Alison: And I’m Alison Malmon, I’m the founder and Executive Director of Active Minds. Active Minds is a national nonprofit focused on empowering students to speak openly about mental health. I started Active Minds after I lost my brother Brian to suicide when he was a college student. And I quickly understood and learned that mental health issues are so widespread and impact so many of us, and yet, we talk so little about them. And students like my brother Brian need to know that they’re not alone, need to know that there’s help available, and they need to feel comfortable seeking the help.

Steve: Alison and I are excited to share with you all today that NSCS and Active Minds are joining forces in an unprecedented partnership to raise funds and awareness for mental health. Through this campaign, 80% of the funds raised will support Active Minds’ education and outreach on college campuses. The remaining 20% will fund an NSCS scholarship.

Alison: One of the things that we’re going to be able to do this year is a lot of online / offline programming around stress relief activities and Active Minds’ Stress Less Week, and Integrity Week, and programming that happens around Suicide Prevention Month. So, you can do that even if you don’t have an Active Minds chapter on your campus. If you do, I hope Active Minds and NSCS work together.

Steve: And I know all of those resources are really going to make a difference, and it really is going to help us take our mission in the direction of educating our members around these challenges and around where to find help on campus.

Alison: Our goal through this is to provide the training and education for NSCS members, to learn more for themselves and their friends, and to provide you the tools and resources to help us keep doing the work that we do.

Steve: We look forward to working closely with all our NSCS members across the country to empower students to speak openly about mental health and encourage help seeking. This is just one of the many ways NSCS embodies our pillars of community service and leadership. Join us on our journey to break the stigma.

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Celebrity Family Feud: NFL Players Compete to Win for Active Minds! http://activemindsblog.org/celebrity-family-feud-nfl-players-compete-to-win-for-active-minds/ Fri, 07 Jul 2017 18:12:42 +0000 http://activemindsblog.org/?p=6748 Be sure to watch “Celebrity Family Feud” on Sunday night and cheer for a team of legendary NFL players as they compete to win $25,000 for Active Minds!

This special primetime episode is set to air on SUNDAY, JULY 9 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET/PT) on ABC.

Ten NFL players will compete on the iconic game show to win up to $25,000 for charity, as the “NFLPA All Stars” take on the “NFLPA Legends”. The All Stars will be playing for Professional Athletes Foundation (PAF), while the Legends will compete to benefit Active Minds.

Emmy Award winning host, stand up comedian, actor, author and deejay, Steve Harvey will host the program. NFL active and former players set to play on Sunday are:

NFLPA All Stars (Charity: PAF)
Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers running back
Patrick Peterson – Arizona Cardinals cornerback
Derrick Johnson – Kansas City Chiefs linebacker
Joe Thomas – Cleveland Browns offensive tackle
DeAndre Hopkins – Houston Texans wide receiver

NFLPA Legends (Charity: Active Minds)
Marshall Faulk – Former NFL running back selected for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011
Andre Reed – Former NFL wide receiver selected for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014
Anthony Munoz – Former NFL offensive lineman inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998
Derrick Brooks – Former NFL linebacker elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014
Rod Woodson – Former NFL cornerback and safety inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009

Follow the hashtag #CelebrityFamilyFeud during the show for updates and behind-the-scenes photos.

 

Active Minds is a proud mental health partner of the National Football League Players Association, the union for professional football players in the National Football League. Established in 1956, the NFLPA has a long history of assuring proper recognition and representation of players’ interests. 

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Active Minds T-shirt Design Contest Update http://activemindsblog.org/active-minds-t-shirt-design-contest-update/ Tue, 13 Jun 2017 14:59:01 +0000 http://activemindsblog.org/?p=6652 The Active Minds T-shirt Design contest is in full swing and we’ve received so many wonderful submissions, we just had to share a few of them with you. Every entry tells a different story of hope and resilience and we couldn’t be more proud of everyone who has taken the time to create something from scratch. The contest runs until June 21st, so there’s still plenty of time to submit a winning design! You can view the contest details at www.activeminds.org/tshirt.


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For the Future Success of Your Chapter http://activemindsblog.org/for-the-future-success-of-your-chapter/ Tue, 18 Apr 2017 13:25:31 +0000 http://activemindsblog.org/?p=6545 Summer is right around the corner! We can practically smell the sea breeze and the barbecues and many of you are looking forward to graduation and new challenges ahead. In all of the excitement, it can be hard to effectively wrap up your chapter activities and prepare your new leaders to thrive in the fall. Never fear, we have new resources available to help you make your leadership transition smooth and successful!

Here are some tips we’ve heard from chapter leaders about successful leadership transition to get you thinking:

  • Allison, The University of Rochester: “Create a way for there to be transparency between new outgoing and incoming leaders so they can share what the positions entail. They can also remind new members to keep good self-care routines.”
  • Russell, University of Maine: “We’ve kept a binder of information and records about things we’ve done in the past that pass it on to new leaders every year. If a new leader is feeling lost they can often refer to the binder for help.”
  • Kristina, Denison University: “Make sure outgoing leaders provide their new contact information so they can be reached if needed.”
  • Nycole, Marquette University: “Along with keeping records of our past activities we do team bonding and different activities for the new and outgoing executive board members. This helps them start to get to know each other and helps them learn about their upcoming roles and responsibilities.”

Another tip is to think about how your chapter leadership is structured. Are responsibilities equally distributed among your executive board? Are your general members involved in planning or otherwise have a natural path to taking on leadership eventually? Here are two different structures that we’ve seen work well when a traditional set up wasn’t doing the trick:

  • Saint Michael’s College holds elections in the fall semester to elect juniors and sophomores to leadership roles. The newly elected students shadow the seniors who have had a year of leadership experience and learn about their roles, different leadership styles, and help plan the coming year of events. In the spring semester, the seniors step down from their roles letting the underclassmen run the chapter but are there for support and guidance.
  • The University of Maryland and UCLA both have a committee structure that engages more leaders and members and may be well suited for schools with large chapters. There is an overall executive board managing all of the different parts of what is happening but smaller committees have their own leadership and member base for different initiatives, such a Stress Less Week, collaborating with the Student Veterans office, or social media and marketing. This gives younger leaders an opportunity to practice and hone their skill in smaller scale settings and engages general members effectively to keep them coming back to meetings and events.

Do you have other leadership transition tips? Having some trouble figuring out the best plan for your chapter? We want to hear from you! Email us at chapters@activeminds.org and let us help you brainstorm! And don’t forget to check out our new and improved Leadership Transition Resources and the Leadership Transition Notebook!

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Introducing the 2017-2018 Active Minds Student Advisory Committee! http://activemindsblog.org/introducing-the-2017-2018-active-minds-student-advisory-committee/ Thu, 16 Feb 2017 15:15:46 +0000 http://activemindsblog.org/?p=6150 Each spring, Active Minds welcomes new members to the Student Advisory Committee (SAC), comprised of up to 20 students across the country who have shown extraordinary leadership and dedication to Active Minds. The SAC serves as an advisory body to the national office staff and brings the student perspective to organizational decision-making.

Read on to meet the 2017-2018 Student Advisory Committee (including their favorite quotes/slogans!):

Maura Barrett

School: Pennsylvania State University (State College, PA)

Studies: Psychology (concentration: Life Sciences)

About Maura: Outside of Active Minds, she is a student ambassador for the sexual violence bystander intervention initiative on campus. In Maura’s free time, she loves to golf, bake, cook, and volunteer at a local dog shelter.

Favorite Quote: “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invisible summer.”

 

Christy Benedict

School: Jefferson College (Hillsboro, MO)

Studies: Liberal Arts and Computer Science

About Christy: Christy is working on bringing Active Minds to UMSL. Two of her other passions are fixing things and crafting, which she tries to do regularly as she finds them almost meditative.

Favorite Quote: “Smile, it’s contagious.”

 

Elizabeth “Liz” Dugas

School: Worcester State University (Worcester, MA)

Studies: Nursing

About Liz: When she can get a break between Active Minds and nursing, Liz loves to watch Disney, anime, and play video games.

Favorite Quote: “Though she be small, she be fierce.”


Russell Fascione

School: University of Maine (Orono, ME)

Studies: Psychology, Disability Studies

About Russell: Russell has been active in UMaine’s LGBTQ community, and he is a huge nerd for educational trainings, workshops, and presentations of all kinds. This is Russell’s second term with the SAC.

Favorite Quote: “Inhale the good sh**. Exhale the bullsh**.”

 

Nycole Fassbender

School: Marquette University (Milwaukee, WI)

Studies: Criminology and Psychology

About Nycole: When she isn’t advocating or doing school work, Nycole loves to explore new places, enjoy a run, and get her caffeine coffee fix. This is Nycole’s second term on the SAC.

Favorite Quote: “Espresso Yourself.” (I am a huge coffee fan, worked at Starbucks, and believe in being the real you.)

 

Gopika Hari

School: Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA)

Studies: Biology (minors: Chemistry & Spanish, certificate in Community Engagement)

About Gopika: Outside of school, she loves working with kids, exploring Richmond, and trying out great new food places in the city.

Favorite Quote: “The dream was always running ahead of me. To catch up, to live for a moment in unison with it, that was the miracle.”

 

Brooke Hubbard

School: Denison University (Granville, OH)

Studies: Political Science (concentration: Arabic)

About Brooke: Outside of Active Minds, Brooke is a proud member of Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Denison University Gospel Choir and Kappa Alpha Theta on her campus. In her free time she loves spending time in the mountains, seeing family and friends, Parks and Recreation re-runs, and eating excessive amounts of Swedish Fish.

Favorite Quote: “You are the sky, everything else is just the weather.”

 

Amna Ijaz

School: Collin College (McKinney, TX)

Studies: International Relations and Global Studies

About Amna: Having lived in four out of the seven continents, she has been able to perceive the lingering stigma that surrounds mental health around the globe, and in different cultures. She is an avid painter in her free time.

 

Megan Larson

School: UCLA (Los Angeles, CA)

Studies: Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics with a minor in Study of Religion

About Megan: When she’s not advocating for mental health awareness, you can find Megan practicing archery to defend her national title, knitting in her Stitch onesie, and speaking in the British accent she picked up while studying abroad. This is Megan’s second term.

 

Tara Maestas

School: Colorado School of Mines (Golden, CO)

Studies: Biochemical Engineering

About Tara: When she is not studying or participating in soccer, archery, or school clubs, she volunteers at elementary schools and develops recycling programs. This is Tara’s second term.

Favorite Quote: “Keep Moving Forward.”


Tylor Martin

School: Elkhorn South High School (Omaha, NE) (attending University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2017-2018)

Studies: Plans to major in Psychology (minor: Communications)

About Tylor: Tylor founded her chapter with her twin brother, Skylor. She has a chocolate colored dachshund named Willy Wonka.

Favorite Quote: “When you have a bad day, a really bad day, try and treat the world better than it treated you.”

 

Shawn Pham

School: George Mason University (Fairfax, VA)

Studies: Social work

About Shawn: Shawn is an Information HelpLine Specialist at NAMI. He hopes to incorporate his passion for social work with his love for art by getting his certification in art therapy.

Favorite Quote: “View the world through pastel tinted eyes, yet paint it with vivid colors.”

 

Sabrina Rowley

School: Creighton University (Omaha, NE)

Studies: Marketing

About Sabrina: Sabrina is the Vice President of Education for her chapter and helps run and advertise for events on campus.

Favorite Quote: “Your setback is the platform for your comeback.”

 

Dana Sauro

School: Loyola University Maryland (Baltimore, MD)

Studies: Psychology (minor: Gender Studies)

About Dana: Along with being the president of her chapter, Dana is also a resident assistant at her university and a community contributor for Wish Dish. In her free time, Dana loves to watch food network, drink chai tea lattes (preferably over ice), and bake for friends.

Favorite Quote: “Have courage, and be kind.”

 

Raquel Sosa

School: East Stroudsburg University (East Stroudsburg, PA)

Studies: Counseling Psychology and Applied Statistics

About Raquel: Raquel is not only the Vice President of her Active Minds chapter but she is also a mentor for First Year Experience students, a part of her professor’s research team and a member of Psychology Association.

Favorite Quote: “Live life as if you will die tomorrow, dream as if you will live forever.”

 

Anaclare Sullivan

School: University of Rochester (Rochester, NY)

Studies: Epidemiology and Brain & Cognitive Sciences

About Anaclare: Anaclare is passionate about challenging the stereotypes that surround mental health conditions, especially PTSD and OCD, fighting the stigma of hospitalization, and teaching others about the intersection of mental illness and physical disability.

Favorite Quote: from Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock: “For the lighthouse keepers- past, present, and future” and “…Man the great light. Even when no one is looking.”

 

Jessica York

School: University of Missouri (Columbia, MO)

Studies: Nursing

About Jessica: Jessica participates in Mizzou’s student government and alternative spring break program. She also enjoys binge-watching shows on Netflix, hiking, and spending time with her golden retriever. This is Jessica’s second term.

Favorite Quote: “Do not go gentle into that good night.”

The 2017-2018 SAC term begins in April. For more information about the SAC and to read the bios of our current members, visit http://www.activeminds.org/sac.

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New Year, New Speaker Videos! http://activemindsblog.org/new-year-new-speaker-videos/ Mon, 06 Feb 2017 14:28:07 +0000 http://activemindsblog.org/?p=6137

This past November 4-6, Active Minds held its annual Mental Health on Campus Conference (#MHCC16) at Sacramento State University; what a great way to end the year!  Several members of the Active Minds Speakers Bureau gave presentations during the weekend, and we were fortunate to have three of their talks recorded; Jordan Burnham, Colleen Coffey and Juliana Kerrest all spoke about their own personal struggles with mental health issues.

Jordan told of his difficulty early in life with feeling like he didn’t fit in, and of trying to hide his insecurities by using alcohol.  He described living his life behind a mask that showed a happy, confident and popular kid on the outside while behind that fake smile lived a different person who doubted himself and his abilities. Jordan’s suicide attempt
illuminated his struggles, and opened avenues toward healing.

Colleen shared her life story of growing up in a family that provided material needs but failed to recognize that their young daughter was suffering extreme anxiety, depression and disordered eating.  Only when she grew older and realized that she was empowered to break the cycle of panic attacks and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder herself was she able to reach out for help.

Juliana revealed a history of battling depression, anxiety and self-harm, locked in a pattern that repeated itself year after year, leaving her exhausted and hopeless. Although a good student, she found herself struggling to keep up with schoolwork, friendships and everyday tasks. Treatment for Bipolar II Disorder has given her renewed faith in herself and her ability to succeed even when it seems most difficult.

These presenters all give us lots to think about in terms of how we view ourselves and others, and how we can project the image we most want people to see.  They talk frankly about their own painful efforts to live and cope with their mental health conditions, and describe the ups and downs that frame them.

They also show us that there is hope for healing, and that with time, patience and work—often very HARD work—it’s possible to find and choose proper treatment.

So, it’s a new semester and a new year; what are you going to do differently? What changes are you going to make in your life, and in the lives of others?  What good habits, attitudes, values or beliefs are you going to carry over from last year into the future? What disappointments, misconceptions and negative patterns or behaviors will you leave behind?

How are you going to help spread awareness about mental well-being and suicide prevention on your campus? Why not bring an Active Minds Speakers Bureau presenter to your college community to share their real-world lived experience with mental illness, diagnosis, treatment and recovery? You and your fellow-students will be amazed at how connected you’ll feel to your speaker while listening to stories about dysfunction that could happen to anyone.

Get in touch with the Active Minds Speakers Bureau staff today to learn how to host an AMSB speaker; create change on your campus that will have a lasting impact!

speakers@activeminds.org            202-332-9595 ext. 102

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Mental Health is for Everyone http://activemindsblog.org/mental-health-is-for-everyone/ Fri, 03 Feb 2017 17:54:49 +0000 http://activemindsblog.org/?p=6142 You might have noticed that we here at Active Minds’ national office haven’t commented much on the political climate here in the United States over the last few weeks and months. There’s one particularly compelling reason for this. As a 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit organization, we generally have to stay out of politics. For example, we can support getting out the vote, but we can’t endorse a candidate. Make sense?

All that said, we are an organization composed of more than 10,000 students who have been impacted in one way or another by our country’s politics and policies over the last several months, and there are a few things we would like to make clear to each and every student who follows us online, participates in our programming, leads our chapters, or just wants to make the climate friendlier for people with mental health issues.

Every student should be able to pursue their education without harassment.
No matter their country of origin, race, ethnicity, or religious belief, every student deserves a quality education. No matter their gender identity, sexual orientation, or political leanings, every student belongs on our campuses and in our democratic society. We hear reports of students being kept from returning to campus, harassed for who they did and did not vote for, and discriminated against for their backgrounds. Yet, there isn’t time for that kind of division when we’re all working so hard to make sure quality mental health care and quality education is accessible to everyone.

Every student has the right to speak up without retribution.
You likely don’t even have to scroll down on your feed or look beyond the door of your classroom to find people entrenched in controversy around recent issues. We understand controversy, but we support civility. People have stories to tell, they have beliefs to share; we do not have to agree, but we do have a responsibility to remain civil. If a conversation gets too heated, you’re allowed to remove yourself from the situation. Excuse yourself and walk away. Get off of social media. You’re allowed to do that; give yourself that permission. And don’t forget, the people you disagree with have the exact same rights. We should all be doing what we need to do to practice self-care in these contentious times.  

Active Minds is for everyone.
Everyone has mental health. So, no matter your gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, country of origin, citizenship status, political affiliation, diagnoses, etc., we welcome you here. We are an organization of inclusion, and we will continue to be so with one caveat: We Will Not Tolerate Hate. Discrimination, slurs, hate speech, and any behavior that threatens our values of inclusion and controversy with civility will not be tolerated in our chapters, in our staff offices, or on any of our online outlets. To support and ensure everyone’s right to maintain their mental health, we’ve always reserved the right to mute or block users and/or delete comments that perpetuate hate and intolerance.

We express our solidarity with and support for anyone seeking to pursue a quality education that prepares them to be better citizens, better students, better teachers, engineers, doctors, nurses, business people, researchers, psychologists, politicians. For anyone seeking to make quality mental health care available to all members of our society. For those on the margins—who feel they’re being discriminated against and need a place to call home.

When it comes to taking sides, our stance is simple. We side with kindness. We side with justice. We side with truth. We side with better access to care for all.

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Hone Your Storytelling Superpowers with Our Stories, Our Strengths http://activemindsblog.org/hone-your-storytelling-superpowers-with-our-stories-our-strengths/ Fri, 13 Jan 2017 20:01:15 +0000 http://activemindsblog.org/?p=6062 Hey, Stigma Fighter, I see you. You do cool things on your campus to get people talking about mental health and your stigma fighting tool belt is pretty rad, full of buttons, information cards, pledge stickers, and resources. However, I have a recommendation for a new tool: the Active Minds storytelling course, “Our Stories, Our Strength.” I took it over the summer and came up three pretty solid reasons why you should take it this semester.

1. It’s a great way to meet new people passionate about mental health

Being a stigma fighter is great, but being a stigma fighter is also tough. Trying to change a culture is hard, especially when it seems like you’re trying to change it alone. One of the reasons conference is so great is because it brings a lot of stigma fighters from around the country together – and this is what happens in the “Our Stories, Our Strength” course! I’m from Pennsylvania, and I was the only person in the class from Pennsylvania. I wouldn’t have met any of the people I took the class with if I hadn’t taken it, because we were from different corners of the United States. It’s a great (and necessary) reminder that there are lots of us working to change the culture to make it more positive for mental health and, it’s also super great to talk about programming ideas and strategies with classmates and to support each other in our journeys.

2. People are transformed by stories

I don’t want to give away too much, because there will be discussion of storytelling in the class, but it isn’t really a secret that people are transformed by the power of a good story – book writing and publishing is still a pretty lucrative business, and that’s an industry that has been around for centuries! We all have favorite stories, and storybook characters – many of whom remind us of ourselves and may have even helped us get through a tough time we had. This is definitely a super power that every human, in some small or large way, possesses. Remember the Disney movie, Sky High, where the kids of superheroes went to a special high school to learn how to use the powers they inherited from their parents? If superheroes need to practice to utilize their powers, and storytelling is a super power we have as humans, then we also need to practice storytelling to cultivate it as a super power. This course will do exactly that – walk you through the process of cultivating your story. And more importantly, it will teach you how to do it safely, for both yourself and your audience, which is important when dealing with sensitive topics like mental health.

3. You get to celebrate yourself

Chances are, if you’re in a position where you’re considering sharing your mental health story, you’ve been through and overcome a lot. Whether it’s your own personal battle with a mental illness, or your journey supporting a friend or family member, in order to share it, you have to reflect upon it. And, as you reflect upon who you are and where you’ve been, you might be surprised to find out yourself what you’ve been through and overcome, because it’s hard to get a full picture of what is happening in your life as you’re experiencing it. I guarantee that when you step back and look at your journey with mental health, you’ll be proud of who you are, where you’ve been and what you’ve overcome. And when you share your story with the other people taking your class, they get to share in the joy of your victory with you. And if you choose to continue to share your story, in large venues or small ones, you’ll continue to find more and more people to share your joy with, and maybe even inspire someone to keep persevering in their journey (although this kind of ties in with reason #2). Yes, storytelling can be hard and emotionally draining as you think about some of the hardest times of your life, but it can also be fulfilling and rewarding when you compare who you were then to who you are now and see how far you’ve come.

 

So what are you waiting for? Registration for the class opens on January 16th and content is available on January 30th, with online meetings happening the entire month of February. It’s a great addition to your tool belt, Stigma Fighter, and it will help you reach more and more people and transform their lives with the power of who you are (which is a pretty awesome power, because you are pretty awesome), and continue to decrease the stigma surrounding mental health disorders.

Emily Ahlin is a chapter leader at the University of Pittsburgh and a member of the Active Minds Student Advisory Committee. 

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Hannah’s Story http://activemindsblog.org/hannahs-story/ Mon, 05 Dec 2016 14:31:55 +0000 http://activemindsblog.org/?p=5954 Hannah Metzger joined Active Minds as a freshman and served as chapter president at West Chester University (PA) for two years. Over the summer, we had the privilege of hosting Hannah as an intern at our national office.

After watching the interview below, you’ll be so impressed with Hannah’s strength, warmth, and poise, and the amazing impact Active Minds has every day.

 

 

As you consider your holiday charitable giving, choose to donate to Active Minds. Your gift makes a life-saving difference by preventing young adult suicides and raising awareness about mental health.

Donate

 


VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

When I was 13-years-old I lost my father to suicide. And when I was 17 I lost my 14-year-old brother. And since then I’ve really struggled with depression and anxiety as a result of that…

When I first began college, I was fine in the beginning of the first semester of my freshman year and then started to get really overwhelmed and decided I couldn’t do it and was never going to make it through. And I had a breakdown in mid-October I would say, and talked to my mom and told her for the first time I was actually thinking of ending my own life. And it was terrifying…

Then the spring of my freshman year, I found Active Minds on my campus and it finally felt like that one place I was looking for that I needed some support from…

Active Minds is really important on college campuses because the onset age for many different mental health disorders and illnesses is early college age, so 18, 19, 20, 21. And I don’t think anyone is getting the help they need because it’s such a weird transition period that they don’t know what’s available, they don’t know where to go, they struggle by themselves and think this is just a me problem, she’s not feeling this way obviously. A lot of people don’t get help.

Active Minds is a good place that acts as a comforting type of zone rather than the stress and anxiety that comes with going to a therapist. I think it’s a great place for students particularly to connect with other students and realize that they’re not the only one struggling and that it’s ok to ask for help…

I think we still have a long way to go on campuses. I think that bringing Active Minds to campuses is definitely putting the foot in the door and making the conversation begin, but I also think that so many people are still stigmatizing it and still putting it off as, oh I don’t have a problem so it doesn’t matter. And I think that by changing the atmosphere on college campuses to make it more accepting it will slowly make people realize that its ok, and help isn’t a sign of weakness, and reaching out is not you giving up and being vulnerable, it’s you being strong enough to admit, I’m having a tough time and I need help…

So, getting the help that I needed really changed my life honestly. And I want other people to see that it’s ok to reach out for help and see that there is hope, whether it’s the darkest of days, I feel that I’ve been there, but there is always going to be a brighter day. And I think Active Minds does a good job of helping people see that there is a brighter side to things.

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