News from Active Minds

GWU to Host Active Minds National Conference


Actress Heather Matarazzo to Keynote Active Minds’ 6th National Mental Health on Campus Conference, where Leaders will Discuss and Plan for the Future of College Student Mental Health

NOV. 13 and 14, 2009

WASHINGTON—The George Washington University will host more than 300 college students, staff and experts Friday and Saturday, Nov. 13 and 14, 2009, at the 6th annual Active Minds Mental Health on Campus Conference. The sessions will be held at the GW Law School (2000 H St., NW) and at the Cloyd Heck Marvin Center (800 21st St., NW). Event sessions include: 

Fri. Nov. 13

  • Send Silence Packing, a display of 1,100 donated backpacks representing the 1,100 college students who die by suicide each year (2:30 p.m., GW University Yard, H Street between 20th and 21st streets, NW)
  • Reaching Diverse Audiences: Student Veterans and Mental Health, led by members of Student Veterans of America (4 p.m.)
  • Keynote Speaker: Heather Matarazzo, actor, Welcome to the Dollhouse and The Princess Diaries (7:30p.m.)

Sat. Nov. 14

  • Abraham Lincoln’s Most Active Mind, Joshua Wolf Shenk, author of Lincoln’s Melancholy (11:15 a.m.)
  • Understanding and Partnering with University Counseling Services, Gregory Eells, president, Association of University and College Counseling Center Directors, Richard Kadison, author of College of the Overwhelmed, and Francesca Pileggi, president, Active Minds at Lafayette College (3 p.m.)
  • Using Online Resources to Create Offline Change, Sean Sullivan, president, Active Minds at University of Maryland, and Tobin Van Ostern, former National Director of Students for Barack Obama and current Campus Progress Network Associate (3 p.m.)
  • Jordan Burnham, survivor of attempted suicide and speaker, The Heard Speakers Bureau, (4:30 p.m.)

Specific room locations will be posted at the conference. 

“Active Minds chapters play a critical role in ensuring student well-being on campuses across the country,” said Alison Malmon, founder and executive director of Active Minds, Inc. “Our chapters use peer-to-peer advocacy and awareness to teach fellow students how to help friends in need and also draw attention to mental health resources available on campus and in the surrounding community. This is critical considering that almost half of all college students report having felt so depressed they could not function in the past year and that the majority of suicidal students tell their friends before they tell anyone else.” 

Sara Abelson, program director at Active Minds, said, “Drawing on past experience and success, this year’s Active Minds 6th conference will focus on the incredible potential of young adult mental health advocates and action steps to improve campus mental health.” 

Active Minds, Inc is the leading voice in college student mental health and offers the only national conference specifically geared towards student mental health activists. Themed Uniting Voices, Inspiring Change, the conference will bring together leaders from across the country to discuss, envision, and build a better future for college student mental health. 

Student leaders from McDaniel College, Oregon State University, Stevenson University, Florida A&M University, Northern Illinois University and others will present. 

About Active Minds 
Active Minds is the leading voice in college student mental health. On over 225 campuses, with thousands of student leaders and advocates working diligently to raise awareness and promote mental health, Active Minds is reaching students through the implementation of programming that decreases stigma, brings about awareness, and ultimately creates a positive and accepting environment for the discussion of mental health issues. 

MEDIA RSVP: Media are welcome to attend all or a portion of the conference but must pre-register with Alison Malmon, executive director of Active Minds Inc, at 202-332-9595 x101 or 202-236-8377 (cell). 

For a full conference agenda, visit The conference is free for George Washington University and GW Law students and staff, but registration is required.