Our chapter at the University of Kansas has been up to some great things lately!
The University of Kansas has co-founded the Douglas County Suicide Prevention Coalition, a local non-profit in the Lawrence area. There are monthly meeting that the University of Kansas Active Minds takes part in with various representatives from around the community. The Douglas County Suicide Prevention Coalition is dedicated to putting on events to spread outreach and that aim to better educate the area.
The University of Kansas has also been in the process of partnering with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to co-sponsor a speaking event in the Lawrence area.
Along with working in their community, the University of Kansas Active Minds has also done so much to help those who are struggling with mental health on their campus. The Active Minds chapter at the University of Kansas has worked, and is still working, to change housing policies so that students requiring leaves of absences from school for mental health reasons were not under threat of eviction. They also recently held a successful co-event discussing sexual abuse and mental health.
In the upcoming months, University of Kansas Active Minds is working with their on-campus health center and Timberline Knolls to get 2008 Miss America, Kirsten Haglund, on campus in February to discuss her struggle with an eating disorder.
Kirsten Haglund was 19 when she became Miss America, making her one of the youngest women to win the title ever. She has used her time as Miss America to talk about a platform very important to her: eating disorders. According to Haglund, her eating disorder began at just 13 years old, while in an intensive ballet program. Once Haglund’s mother realized how much of an issue her daughter was having, she was put into an intensive outpatient program. She left her ballet company and began to focus on her recovery and getting healthy.
Through this process, she began competing in beauty pageants. Her doctors were worried that these would trigger her anorexia, however Haglund saw it differently. Through pageants, she was able to tell her story, providing dialogue to an issue that is often not spoken about, especially in the pageant world. Many girls approached Haglund, confiding in her that they had also been through the same thing. Hanglund was, and still is, an inspiration to those who have struggled with an eating disorder. The University of Kansas Active Minds is so excited to have this event with Miss Haglund in February.
Finally, Active Minds at the University of Kansas would like to start the process of trying to add emergency and crisis numbers to the back of the KU student ID cards. By doing this, every single student would have access to mental healthcare help whenever they needed it.
We here at Nationals are so proud of all the great work the University of Kansas chapter is doing. We can’t wait to see and hear all about their continued success in helping to end the stigma on mental illness across their campus. Keep up the great work y’all!