We are happy to announce our wonderful chapter of the month, Active Minds at the University of Portland! The University of Portland has created many new initiatives to reduce the stigma around mental health and, most impressively, has not even celebrated their one year anniversary yet.
Active Minds at the University of Portland had a unique start. The chapter co-president, Jesse Dunn, stood up to the administration at the university and demanded that there be more conversation about the mental health in light of his friend’s suicide. Dunn, among others, was extremely disappointed by the portrayal of the death as anything but a suicide.
The university’s lack of mental health discussion led Dunn to feel like the university was further contributing to the mental health stigma. Therefore, he decided to start an Active Minds chapter with friends to raise awareness about mental health issues and to provide a platform for further discussion. This year, Dunn was a recipient of the University of Michigan’s Student Mental Health Advocate Award. This award is given to those who demonstrate exceptional mental health awareness/advocacy at their universities.
“I met so many phenomenal, passionate people, and I learned quite a bit about depression and other mental health issues on college campuses. Receiving the award and getting to give a speech at the luncheon was a spectacular moment. It allowed me for one of the first times to really reflect on the work that Logan and I have done over the last year. It’s all stuff that we are intrinsically motivated to do, but it undeniably has been a lot of energy” Dunn said.
But the awards don’t stop there. Co-presidents Logan Crabtree as well as Dunn have received the Rev. John Van Wolvlear, CSC, Student Affairs Award. These awards further highlight the tremendous impact Active Minds has had at the University of Portland thus far.
After a successful editorial that launched Active Minds at the University of Portland onto center stage the chapter began to collaborate with the student newspaper to write a weekly “Let’s Talk” column to share stories and encourage others to seek help. Additionally, the chapter is has podcast interviews with the members that shared their stories.
The chapter has held many events this year but two stand out as unique: “Affirmation Grams” and a “Battle of the Bands Event”. Students were able to purchase a $1 “Affirmation Gram” to have a nice note get delivered to their friends to brighten their day.
The Battle of the Bands was a creative Active Minds fundraiser scheduled for April 1st, where anyone could compete–even with air guitars! Winners were awarded prizes and food/raffles were provided for all. Rock on!
We can’t wait to see more of the amazing work Active Minds at the University of Portland will do!