Chapters 101

February Chapter of the Month: University of Michigan

Congratulations to Active Minds at the University of Michigan for being selected as the February Chapter of the Month!  Their advocacy efforts have generated countless conversations about mental health at U of M and beyond, and have yielded hundreds of dollars for the life-changing work we do at Active Minds.

In fall 2016, Active Minds at the University of Michigan was recognized for their mental health advocacy efforts in Mentality Magazine, a new, semesterly publication at U of M with a focus on mental health on campus.  Highlighted in the article was the chapter’s partnership with community-based organizations for mental health; Active Minds at U of M has raised over $2,000 for suicide prevention efforts and strengthened their chapter’s connection to the larger Ann Arbor community along the way.

The fundraising prowess of Active Minds at U of M doesn’t stop there:  the chapter has also teamed up with their university’s food provider, Sodexo, to work the concession stands at athletic events and raise money for Active Minds, Inc.  So far, the chapter has raised over $1,500 for our stigma-fighting efforts!

Active Minds at U of M has also partnered with various on-campus organizations in the last year to raise awareness about mental health and connect their fellow Wolverines to resources.  Frequent collaborators include Counseling and Psychological Services at U of M, Wolverine Support Network (a peer-led support group), the Depression Center, and Student Government.  In October 2016, Active Minds at U of M worked with their student government to host Mental Health Awareness Day, a day-long event that featured free breakfast and a town hall discussion with administration to discuss student mental health.

Next up, Active Minds at U of M will coordinate several events for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, including an a capella fundraising concert, a student speaker discussion event regarding eating disorder recovery, a faculty panel discussing  research on eating disorders, and tabling for awareness throughout the week.

On April 1st and 2nd, Active Minds at U of M will be hosting their third-annual Mental Health Monologues, a signature event where students can share their stories with mental health through dance, song, poetry, and other creative outlets.   The stories cover a range of topics, including what it’s like living with various diagnoses, dealing with a family member’s mental illness, and addressing the stigma of talking about mental health.

When asked to provide advice for chapters looking to expand their fundraising efforts and partnerships on campus, the executive board replied, “Just go for it! Reach out to a wide range of people, organizations, and student government bodies to find connections to mental health that relate to their interests — mental health relates to everyone! It helps to think of ‘mental health’ from different angles. We also have gotten creative with our events -some examples include collaborating with our state’s basketball team, the Detroit Pistons, to fundraise for tickets, creating our own bracelets in collaboration with Pura Vida, and having a concert dedicated to eating disorder awareness.”

Congratulations again to the Active Minds chapter at the University of Michigan!   The national office is proud of your tireless and creative efforts to fight the stigma and foster a friendly climate for mental health on your campus and beyond.