Last summer, while hiking with my sister and our three dogs, we stumbled into a nest of yellow jackets. They swarmed us, covering our bodies, stinging repeatedly as we hollered and fled down the mountain.
Safely back at the car, we shook the rest of them out of our pant legs. We loaded up on Benadryl. Everyone else seemed okay, but I felt like someone was stepping on my lungs. My mood dropped precipitously. I reassured my sister I was okay. I drove a few miles to our mom’s house.
My mom was getting ready to leave as I arrived. I lay down on the couch. “I’m fine,” I said. “I just need to lie down for a little while. You don’t need to stay.” I closed my eyes and waited. I felt like I might be dying but told myself that was ridiculous. Hadn’t I been stung often as a kid? I could handle this. I shouldn’t make anyone worry.
That’s right, I have not one, not two, but THREE mentors, and all of them bring unique experiences and knowledge to my project. Let me introduce you to them!
Dr. Daniel Eisenberg is the first of my national mentors. An associate professor at the University of Michigan, he is also the creator of The Healthy Minds Network, where my data is coming from. Dr. Eisenberg is also one of the leading researchers in college student mental health, and frequently cited in the introduction for my project. He’s also previously been a mentor for the Emerging Scholars Program before, and I feel very lucky to have him assisting me!
Sarah Lipson is my second national mentor, and also a student of Dr. Eisenberg! She is completing her PhD in both public health and education at the University of Michigan and helps to run the Healthy Minds Network. I first got to meet Sarah when she was a presenter at the 2015 Active Minds National Conference and we had wonderful discussions about research and grad school. Not only has Sarah served as a mentor for the Emerging Scholars Program, but she’s an alumna of the 2012 cohort!
Send Silence Packing, Active Minds’ acclaimed suicide prevention exhibit, is hitting the road again this spring for an incredible tour through the southern states.
Send Silence Packing consists of 1,100 donated backpacks, representing the number of college students lost to suicide each year. The program is designed to raise awareness about the incidence and impact of suicide, connect students to needed mental health resources, and inspire action for suicide prevention.
The spring tour will travel to 11 campuses from March 31 to May 2. Keep an eye on #SendSilencePacking on Instagram during the tour, so you can see live pictures from the displays.
Sometimes it’s hard to explain to people what I do for school/work. I work with a lot of depressed folk and talk about suicide. I’m also studying the suicide experiences of trans-youth. It doesn’t make for great topics for parties. Usually people nod and don’t say much; then they slowly drift away. Despite the poor fit for party topics, I still talk about it—because it’s important to me; almost invariably I have one tear-filled bonding experience with someone who’s been depressed and desperate for someone to talk to.
Dr. Brene Brown, talks about the power of this connection in her TEDTalk, The Power of Vulnerability. She says, “The two most powerful words when we’re in struggle: me too.” After spending hours upon hours listening to trans youth talk about their experiences with depression and suicidality, that quote sticks in my head. These kids are not deviants—they are people desperate to survive. They are desperate to hear someone accept them and struggle with them.
For a limited time only, March 21 through April 26, Active Minds chapters will have the opportunity to participate in a competition to get as many people as possible on campus to complete the At-Risk for Students training for FREE.
Hello again! I’m a few days late, but Happy International Women’s Day!
In honor and celebration of this day, I would like to introduce my two mentors, Dr. Suman Ambwani and Dr. Rebecca Pearl, who have made great contributions to mental health issues that are particularly prevalent among women. Specifically, both of them are experts in the field of weight- and eating-related mental health.
Dr. Suman Ambwani is my On-Campus Advisor. She is now Associate Professor of Psychology at Dickinson College. She received her B.A. at Macalester College and her PhD from Texas A&M University. Dr. Suman Ambwani is particularly interested in eating disorder and how personality, interpersonal interactions, and social cognition are related to eating disorder. More recently, Dr. Ambwani has also become interested in weight stigma and the means by which we transmit the stigma.
Often, the most necessary conversations are the ones that are most difficult. Text, Talk, Act (TTA) makes at least one conversation a little easier by assisting students to share their mental health stories through a very familiar platform: text messaging.
Once again this semester, Active Minds is excited to partner with TTA on April 19 as part of Active Minds’ Stress Less Week. Chapters that register to host a TTA event on April 19 are eligible receive a $1,000 cash prize. Past winners have included Active Minds at Coppin State University, Ithaca College, and UCLA!
To participate, all you need is to gather at least three or four friends on April 19, and text “89800” for mental health discussion prompts. You and your friends will be guided through a series of conversation-starters, from videos to polling, along with many other chapters participating across the country.
Want to join this movement? Get started with the three simple steps below:Continue Reading
*Trigger warning: This post discusses suicide and contains content that may be triggering to some people.*
Last month, we lost another young black man to suicide. His name is MarShawn McCarrel and he was a 23-year-old leader within the Black Lives Matter Movement. I did not know MarShawn, but his story touched me – not only because the world lost a promising and faithful leader, but also because MarShawn posted a concerning message to his Facebook page shortly before ending his life:
Thinking about applying for a summer internship at the Active Minds national office? You should! Take it from a current intern, Alison, who has been working with the development department. Learn more about our internship program here.
1. You learn A LOT:
As a development intern, you help plan, coordinate, and execute all Active Minds fundraising efforts. You learn about donor outreach strategies, effective communication methods, and have the chance to contribute ideas and feedback for development opportunities.
2. You improve your communication skills:
You correspond with current and potential donors, Active Minds chapter members and alumni, and the rest of the Active Minds staff through multiple channels and modes of communication.
I’ve been lucky enough to be paired with Dr. Megan
Moreno, MD, MPH, MSEd, a professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Dr. Moreno focuses on adolescents and technology use, and her most recent study focuses on self-harm on Instagram.
Originally Dr. Moreno was a pediatrician, where she saw a rise of social media use among her adolescent patients. With that prevalence of social media use among teens, Dr. Moreno saw many of her patients dealing with cyberbullying, which is why she decided to work so closely with cyberbullying research. I’m lucky to have someone who is so knowledgeable about cyberbullying to help me whenever I need her!Continue Reading