From the Speakers Bureau: What I Learned in the Yellow Jacket Nest

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meg blog pictureLast 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.

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9 Tips for Bringing an Active Minds Speaker to Your Campus

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Thinking about hosting a member of the Active Minds Speakers Bureau to help educate your campus about mental health? Whether you’ve never hosted an event before or you’re a seasoned planner, here are some tips to help you create a successful, stress-free program that will have deep and long-lasting impact on your community.

1. Secure funding. Know in advance how much money you have to spend, and where it’s coming from. Check with the student activities office, Student Government and the counseling center. They often have grants available to support student-led programs.

You can co-sponsor the event with other organizations–contact Greek Life, Res Life, SGA, the Athletic Department and others to see if they are interested.

2. Decide who you want your audience to be. Is this event for the whole school, or a specific demographic? Who are you trying to reach and what is the message you want to communicate? This will help you decide on which speaker is best for your event. Continue Reading

An Active Minds Speaker for Every Mental Health Day, Week and Month

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Now is a great time to look ahead and plan your programs through the end of semester and beyond; if you’re looking for a way to promote your Active Minds chapter on your campus, and raise awareness about mental health and suicide, consider hosting an event around one of the mental health awareness campaigns coming up!

Let Active Minds Speakers Bureau provide a presenter on one of the topics being highlighted, and remember– when you book an AMSB speaker, your chapter will receive programming credits toward your annual fundraising goal!

A Letter to the Strange Girls: Stay Alive

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Stacy Pershall is a member of the Active Minds Speakers Bureau. Bring Stacy to your campus to speak about mental health!

Active MindsAll right, Strange Girls. Listen to me for just a minute here. Seriously, if you’re in your late teens or early 20s, and you’re considering writing a book or a song or drawing a picture or kissing another girl or getting a tattoo or running off to join the circus or any other thing I might have done when I was your age, but you think maybe you might kill yourself before you get it done, sit your ass down and read this.

You are always going to be too much for other people. Yup, I said it, and it’s true, and it blows. Sorry. So, that seemingly normal person whose normality you’re inexplicably idolizing, who’s making you feel kind of ashamed of being your big, loud self? You’re always going to have some version of that person. They’re not going anywhere, so set them aside for the next 30 seconds and listen to my voice instead.

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The Story of PostSecret: The Show

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Frank Warren is a member of the Active Minds Speakers Bureau and creator of Post Secret, an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a postcard. Learn more about PostSecret: The Show or bring PostSecretU to your campus.

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When I started PostSecret, I never knew how truly special the secrets I pulled from my mailbox would be or where the postcards would take me.

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Joyful secrets, hilarious secrets, romantic, painful, transformative secrets, but what I didn’t see coming were the compassionate responses from strangers. It was exciting for me to curate PostSecret.com and the PostSecret books, but you turned the project into a conversation, you made a community.  I began seeing the compassion and connection that surrounds us all the time but goes unseen.  These were the stories behind the secrets.

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From the Active Minds Speakers Bureau: I Am Enough

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Janelle is a member of the Active Minds Speakers Bureau. Bring her to your campus to speak about mental health.

Janelle_ResizeI don’t know where it comes from, maybe a childhood scar, perhaps an imprint of our consumption driven society, or possibly energy blockages in my solar plexus.  Whatever the cause, the truth is that I often feel like I’m not enough.

I doubt I’m the only one who experiences moments of feeling like I didn’t hit the mark.  When I find myself in these situations I’m left trying to figure out how to effectively maneuver the oscillations of my thoughts while remaining rooted in the fact that, I Am Enough.

In times of tension and stress it comes peeking out from behind my stream of consciousness.  It is a little voice that grows louder and louder until it has created a frenzy among my thoughts, intruding so deeply that without mindful intervention I would be absorbed in self doubt and emotional drama.

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10 Holiday Survival Tips from the Active Minds Speakers Bureau

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What is it about the holiday season that stresses us out? The six weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day can seem like the longest, most angst-filled time of the whole year, even though the days are short!

Even if you don’t ordinarily experience anxiety, depression, mood swings or other mental health issues, itmay not be uncommon for you to feel a little less grounded at the end of the year. And if you are dealing with a disorder, the symptoms may be magnified right about now. If so, read on.

You may already have some coping mechanisms in place for when you feel anxious; however, as a small holiday gift, the Active Minds speakers would like to offer you some of their own tips for surviving the holidays with good mental (and physical) health intact.

Frank Warren: “My one tip for stress reduction is exercise. I feel like I get similar benefits of relaxation and focus from endurance exercise as others might get from meditation or yoga. My favorite workouts are spinning, pool laps and kicking. Don’t forget to hydrate—coconut water, protein drinks and even plain tap water are my go-tos.”

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Look Who’s Talkin’ Mental Health at #MHCC15

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The excitement is building here at Active Minds National Office — we’re only a week away from Active Minds’ 12th National Mental Health on Campus Conference (also known as #MHCC15 on social media). And do we have a great weekend planned for you!

In addition to must-attend Pre-Conference Leadership Institute sessions, Send Silence Packing display, Welcome Networking Hour socials and the super-popular SAC-led Breakout Sessions, we’re featuring some awesome keynote speakers: Melissa Rivers, Sam Dylan Finch and Active Minds Speakers Bureau’s own Pablo Campos.

And that’s not all! This year, almost all of AMSB’s members are joining us to share their stories and talents in lots of ways. Don’t miss the Creative Programming Expo — an annual conference favorite — where you can meet your favorite AM speakers in person in a relaxed and casual setting. Visit the AMSB table at the Expo on Saturday between 12:45pm and 2:15pm.

Throughout the weekend, you can hear presentations by your favorite Active Minds speakers Jordan Burnham, Stacy Pershall, J. Danée Sergeant, Juliana Kerrest, David Romano, Maggie Bertram. Hear their stories firsthand, told in intimate group settings,and participate in question and answer sessions afterward.  Continue Reading

6 Reasons We Can’t Wait for #MHCC15

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The 12th National Mental Health on Campus Conference is only three weeks away — and we’ve got a pretty awesome weekend planned. Below are the six things we’re most excited about right now. If you haven’t already, register now!

1. Keynote Presenters: We’re thrilled to announce our all-star line-up of keynote speakers. Friday night, suicide survivor and TV personality Melissa Rivers will speak at our Awards Dinner; Saturday afternoon, Active Minds Speaker Pablo Campos will share his story of recovery from addiction and mental illness; and on Sunday morning, writer, blogger and activist Sam Dylan Finch will speak about his experiences as a queer man living with mental illness.

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