Chapter of the Month – Active Minds Blog Changing the conversation about mental health Wed, 21 Dec 2016 21:09:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 November Chapter of the Month: Ithaca College Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:29:48 +0000 A big congratulations to Ithaca College, our Chapter of the Month for November. All of us at the Active Minds National Office are beyond impressed by your efforts and are proud to be able to share your accomplishments with other members.

By partnering with other departments, organizations, and campus groups, Ithaca has cultivated strong relationships with a diverse range of students.  Of these include the Psychology and Sociology Departments, Student Government, Diversity/Multicultural office, Student Health office, Admissions/Orientation, LGBTQ groups, Culturally-based student groups, as well as other health and wellness groups.

This year, Ithaca has accomplished an array of endeavors. Most recently, their chapter shared the most stories on Giving Tuesday, using the hashtag #BecauseofActiveMinds to express how the organization has impacted their lives and communities. They took part in the suicide prevention month campaign, “The World Needs You Here,” selling bracelets to raise funds and awareness.


Their chapter conducted over 8 original programs this quarter, reaching up to 80 active attendees at their Moment of Silence, Moment of Action event; a vigil for suicide prevention and mental health advocacy, at which members called upon their peers to honor the 1,100 students who die by suicide each year, shared resources and invited participants to take part in small group discussions. The display consisted of 1,100 decorated luminaries on the academic quad lawn, which were decorated by students who stopped by the Active Minds table in the week prior to the event.


“The Moment of Silence, Moment of Action” event was their favorite memory from the quarter with us, as it was their first time doing it, causing them to really rally together to pull it off. They also conducted other successful Suicide Prevention Month programming. One being #ReasonsISpeak, tabling, posters, and a student-led panel. They estimate that about 250 students participated or interacted with their Suicide Prevention displays and programs.




The panel for suicide awareness and prevention, entitled “Let’s Talk,” brought together students to share stories about their personal experiences with suicide loss survival and suicide attempt survival. The discussion was subsequently opened up to a Q&A with the audience. Active Minds members, in conjunction with Speak Your Mind, a student panel, moderated the conversation to ensure a safe environment, and also provided information and resources.

Other programs included “Scare Away the Stigma,” a presentation on how certain Halloween tropes perpetuate the stigma surrounding mental health and engender negative views towards individuals with mental illnesses, by way of horror movies, haunted houses in asylums, stigmatized costumes and the like.  They also held two other Autumn-themed events, a Trick-Or-Treat Fundraiser, consisting of selling candy, and an Apply Picking & Baking social outing. Additional events include their participation in a walk for suicide prevention and a board game night.

When asked about their chapter’s strengths and their success with Giving Tuesday, their Chapter President, Alex Lopez, stated that they were “amazed at how much we raised, I really didn’t expect it. I think one of the strengths of our chapter is our strong base of general body members who are willing to be vulnerable and share their stories, whether through our Speak Your Mind Panel program or during social media campaigns.”

The integration of “Speak Your Mind” programs into classrooms, has also proven to be a very strong asset in their community. From our standpoint, it seems as though creativity and mere presence on campus are also among their most notable strengths.

Another major achievement was being highlighted by the media. In November, their school publication, The Ithacan, had a piece entitled “CAPS’ wait times increase as more students request services.” The piece described IC Active Minds as a “club dedicated to raising awareness to mental illness on Ithaca College’s campus.”

Just taking a look at their events page on Facebook shows how dedicated the Ithaca Chapter is. They have held countless other events such as, most recently, a general body discussion on Mental Health & Prisons, a Krispy Kreme fundraiser, a Q&A with a psychiatrist. Additionally, much like their Mental Health & Prisons program, they have held programs discussing mental health in relation to veterans, politics, medication, as well as the LGBTQ community and coming out. Even more programming included a family game night, and a Rocky Horror Picture Show Social Event.


This tireless chapter has even more programming in the upcoming week, with “De Stress Fest” taking place December 14, in an effort to promote positive mental health as students commence Finals Week. Chapter members and students alike will be doing yoga, meditating and making arts & crafts. Ithaca’s ingenuity is clear in their choice of craft, making glitter jars, also called “calm down jars.” Students will also be able to play with kinetic sand, and enjoy Moe’s catering.

Keep up the incredible work, Ithaca!! And good luck on finals.

Congratulations to our September Chapter of the Month, University of Kansas! Fri, 30 Sep 2016 13:44:38 +0000 sept-ku-chapter-of-the-month-9%2f16%2f16-1-1

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!

May Chapter of the Month: University of Pennsylvania Tue, 31 May 2016 12:41:30 +0000 url

Congratulations to the chapter of the month, Active Minds at the University of Pennsylvania. Active Minds’ founding chapter has done an impeccable job at raising funds and awareness for mental health this year!

At the beginning of this semester, Active Minds at the University of Pennsylvania held an event called ‘Push Against Stigma’. Students recruited sponsors to participate in a push-up contest to raise money and promote conversation about mental health. This chapter awarded gift cards to the winners of the three different categories: most push-ups, most sponsors, and most money raised. The Krispy Kreme fundraiser allowed Penn students to have something that most college students want-pre-ordered food. A portion of the proceeds went to Active Minds.

Separately, the chapter also hosted a Krispy Kreme fundraiser to provide students with that they want most: pre-ordered food! The chapter donated a portion of the proceeds to Active Minds, Inc. All told, the chapter has raised $1,000 so far for Active Minds, Inc. and mental health awareness!

Upenn 1

The chapter has made even further strides in engaging their peers in mental health dialogue through several creative programs.

On April 9, the chapter held a performance-based event, called INSPIRE. This event was able to engage different people to talk about their mental health issues/struggles in an inspiring manner. Performances ranged from solo performances to oncampus acapella teams.



This year, Active Minds also hosted a wonderful campaign called Fearless Friday in observance of National Eating Disorder Week. During Fearless Friday, students were asked to share what they like about themselves and partake in cookies. Can’t get too much better than self-love and cookies!


Finally, in collaboration with RAPline, uPenn’s helpline, Active Minds at the University of Pennsylvania published their first literary magazine to educate the audience with useful tips about communicating/listening to others. The print literary magazine, Penntal Health, included student’s artwork and their personal stories. Active Minds members were inspired to create this literary magazine due to their immense success with Pennsive, their tumblr that is dedicated to sharing stories and motivational messages to their audience.

What a cool way to expand your network!

Thank you so much for the incredible work you are doing, Active Minds at the University of Pennsylvania!

Chapter of the Month: University of Portland Fri, 29 Apr 2016 12:39:50 +0000 UP AMWe are happy to announce our wonderful chapter of the month, Active Minds at the University of Portland! The University of Portland has created many new initiatives to reduce the stigma around mental health and, most impressively, has not even celebrated their one year anniversary yet.

UP AM3Active Minds at the University of Portland had a unique start. The chapter co-president, Jesse Dunn, stood up to the administration at the university and demanded that there be more conversation about the mental health in light of his friend’s suicide. Dunn, among others, was extremely disappointed by the portrayal of the death as anything but a suicide.

The university’s lack of mental health discussion led Dunn to feel like the university was further contributing to the mental health stigma. Therefore, he decided to start an Active Minds chapter with friends to raise awareness about mental health issues and to provide a platform for further discussion. This year, Dunn was a recipient of the University of Michigan’s Student Mental Health Advocate Award. This award is given to those who demonstrate exceptional mental health awareness/advocacy at their universities.

“I met so many phenomenal, passionate people, and I learned quite a bit about depression and other mental health issues on college campuses. Receiving the award and getting to give a speech at the luncheon was a spectacular moment. It allowed me for one of the first times to really reflect on the work that Logan and I have done over the last year. It’s all stuff that we are intrinsically motivated to do, but it undeniably has been a lot of energy” Dunn said.

But the awards don’t stop there. Co-presidents Logan Crabtree as well as Dunn have received the Rev. John Van Wolvlear, CSC, Student Affairs Award. These awards further highlight the tremendous impact Active Minds has had at the University of Portland thus far.

After a successful editorial that launched Active Minds at the University of Portland onto center stage the chapter began to collaborate with the student newspaper to write a weekly “Let’s Talk” column to share stories and encourage others to seek help. Additionally, the chapter is has podcast interviews with the members that shared their stories.

The chapter has held many events this year but two stand out as unique: “Affirmation Grams” and a “Battle of the Bands Event”. Students were able to purchase a $1 “Affirmation Gram” to have a nice note get delivered to their friends to brighten their day.


The Battle of the Bands was a creative Active Minds fundraiser scheduled for April 1st, where anyone could compete–even with air guitars! Winners were awarded prizes and food/raffles were provided for all. Rock on!

We can’t wait to see more of the amazing work Active Minds at the University of Portland will do!

March Chapter of the Month: University of Dayton Thu, 31 Mar 2016 14:14:04 +0000 Univ_DaytonWe are excited to announce March’s chapter of the month, Active Minds at University of Dayton! They recently hosted a GO LIME Campaign, promoting mental health awareness and Active Minds during an NCCA Division I basketball game against the University of Rhode Island broadcasted on ESPN 2.

At the sold-out basketball game on February 27, the chapter distributed 150 lime green (the nationally observed color for mental health awareness) T-shirts featuring a mental health statistic and the chapter’s logo to alert the audience to the number of people that live with mental illness, the resources available for help, and the Active Minds chapter.

In the stadium and on TV across the country, the chapter and the whole student section could be seen dressed in lime green for mental health awareness!


A student poses in the GO LIME T-shirt with a photo of the University President, Daniel Curran, at the school’s basketball game. 

“The University of Dayton is famous for our love of our basketball team. We have had great NCAA tournament runs in the past couple years which caused an even greater amount of notoriety,” said Blake. “This was the best way for us to get a word out about our cause on our campus that would reach a great amount of people.”

To make the event happen, the chapter requested permission from the “Red Scare,” the student section at all University of Dayton sporting events, and the organization was on board right away. The chapter also distributed information regarding Active Minds and resources available to students on campus for various mental health needs.

Back of Shirt“The fact that all the students were wearing the lime shirts with the statistic on the back showed we are all in this together while providing a positive message regarding mental health,” said Blake.

During the broadcast, ESPN scanned over the student section several times and highlighted the T-shirts. The chapter had sent a memo to the network ahead of time to explain the T-shirts and the cause. However, Blake said that next time, the chapter will make more of an effort to alert the media more in advance to earn more coverage.

crowd (1)

“It got people talking about mental health, which is fantastic,” said Blake. “We even had a woman who is affiliated with an Active Minds chapter in Connecticut take a picture of students wearing the shirts, so hopefully this inspires them to do something similar.”

“I learned that people will support you in raising mental health awareness, because we truly are all affected. The fact that our student fan section and Student Government helped us with open arms shows that people are willing to help if you ask.”

Blake added that events like the GO LIME game can be used to reach people that need to hear the Active Minds message and recommended that chapters utilize the resources on their campuses to bring mental health awareness to the forefront.

Keep up the creativity, Active Minds at the University of Dayton!


February Chapter of the Month: Pennsylvania State University Mon, 29 Feb 2016 16:44:44 +0000 12670118_1133660719978626_7567430231498046155_nWe are delighted to announce the chapter of the month, Pennsylvania State University! This chapter’s events thus far have done a wonderful job at engaging the campus in a discussion on mental health.

Check out the awesome events that this chapter has participated in so far:

Suicide Stomper Community Event

Active Minds at PSU participated in a successful “Suicide Stomper” community event, sponsored by the Jana Marie Foundation, which allowed suicide survivors to express their feelings and be part of a bigger message. Everyone who attended this event decorated and painted the soles of sneakers with meaningful messages and drawings representing hope and their experience with suicide.


Chapter President John Wenier  said that the event created a safe space “where you can come and talk about [suicide].”

After attendees completed their pieces, the different shoes were laced together to form a ‘suicide stomper’ instillation as a symbol of hope and support for all that are affected by suicide. Keep Stomping, PSU!

Mental Health Awareness Week


Chapter members also recently attended/co-sponsored the university’s Mental Health and Wellness Week, a week-long campaign and series of events dedicated to educating the campus on mental health issues.

Active Minds at PSU co-sponsored educational events on substance abuse and addiction and depression and suicide. The events featured story-sharingfrom survivors of substance abuse, an “I Matter Because…” whiteboard where people could write out reasons to celebrate themselves, a student panel discussing depression and suicide, and a speaker to discuss stress reducers and how stress, anxiety , and PTSD contribute to a person’s overall wellbeing.

The powerful week ended with a full day devoted to encouraging resiliency, and students received rubber ID cards with mental health resources.

Keep up the good work, Active Minds at Pennsylvania State University!

January Chapter of the Month: Active Minds at UCLA Fri, 29 Jan 2016 17:41:24 +0000 11999046_1061565100521832_7075910831010947224_nThis month we highlight the stunning work of Active Minds at UCLA.  This chapter is one of just six celebrating ten years as a member of the Active Minds chapter network and have shown why they remain strong time and time again. They serve as a model for other chapters in our network and we’re happy to share just a few of the reasons that Active Mind at UCLA is making huge strides in campus mental health work:

 Featured on Buzzfeed:

Did you know that Buzzfeed recently had a Mental Health Week where they featured articles, videos, and stories about what it’s like to live with a mental illness? The Active Minds chapter at UCLA got some serious recognition for the video they created demonstrating What It’s Like to Hear “Just Get Better.” Check it out:

  1. Leading the way:


The chapter’s leadership team is unstoppable. Active Minds at UCLA has over 100 members in what they lovingly refer to as their “army of stigmafighters.” That can be a lot to manage, but the leadership team has it on lock. They organize by committees for Events, Workshops, and Education and shift priorities to adapt to the needs of the UCLA community as a whole. The committees are able to conquer challenges, respond to different communities, and keep the chapter running smoothly and efficiently.

  1. Programming with a purpose:


Active Minds at UCLA has literally dozens of programs that deserve their own featured place from Dueling with Dementors to their Mental Health Awareness Fair but one of our favorites is their Self Care Kits. When the chapter started this program the kits were intended to be stress less packs but decided to focus on self care and more holistic practices of wellness rather than just stress reduction. The hoped to encourage students to learn their own best self care practices by assembling kits with donated materials such as  cashew butter, water bottles, journals, bubbles, sleep masks, candles, small stuffed animals, marbles, crayons, play-doh and more.


  1. Fundraising prowess:


Winning the 2013-2014 Active Minds Fundraising Innovation Award wasn’t the peak for this team. The chapter continues to make big strides with the program they have continued to adapt and grow, the iSupport Bracelet Campaign. This campaign features handmade friendship bracelets that the chapter created to show love and support and to help build awareness for different mental health conditions. Each color was tied to a specific mental illness and each bracelet came with an information card so people could continue to learn more. They’ve upgraded their infrastructure, they’re reaching out to new markets, and they’re growing something that they know works. Active Minds at UCLA continues to raise over $1,000 a year with this method and has even helped create a guide to doing this program so other chapters can follow suit. Check it out!

Congratulations, Active Minds at UCLA, we continue to be impressed and inspired by your work and can’t wait to see what’s next this semester!

November Chapter of the Month: Active Minds at Stockton University Fri, 04 Dec 2015 13:21:26 +0000 Stockton AMThis month we’re excited to highlight the amazing work of Active Minds at Stockton University, the 2013-2014 Active Minds Chapter of the Year, for their amazing campus mental health work including their innovative program, Proactive Minds. Read on for some of the top reasons that Active Minds at Stockton University is excelling in changing the conversation about mental health!

A Thriving Leadership Team Spreading the Word

Stockton PicActive Minds at Stockton University has a thriving executive board made up of eight members from multiple academic years and has increased their general membership to nearly thirty members. They work very closely with their passionate advisor, Nathan Morell, and the Wellness and Counseling Center to recruit new members and hold relevant, large-scale events. Under their leadership, the chapter has reached more than 650 people through fundraising walks, art shows, and panel discussions. Plus, they already have a list of more than 75 volunteers who want to help out at their events this year!

Transformative Change

Stockton 3Active Minds at Stockton saw a disconnect around the way students get information about their Wellness Center and the use of their services so they sought to fill the gap. They began printing and distributing small stickers with the counseling center call line and asking students to place the stickers on a blank spot on their student ID cards. Due in part to these and the chapter’s other efforts, counseling visits to the Wellness Center have increased in the past year.

The chapter has also worked to engage groups that might not otherwise receive mental health information and have had thriving partnerships with their honors program, Greek life, student athletes, student veterans, and the LGBTQ Pride Alliance. In addition to their work on campus, they have expanded and worked with their county on mental health training and education and even donated over $500 to purchase recreational equipment for a local drug and alcohol rehabilitation center.

Innovative Programming: Proactive Minds

Stockton 2The chapter recently created  a program called Proactive Minds to prepare high school students for the emotional and mental changes associated with transitioning to college and help them recognize how important it is to take care of themselves. Through presentations to high school students, chapter members  share their personal stories about transitioning to college and their advisor provides the research and education  about the emotional processes involved, the warning signs for each major type of mental illness, self-care suggestions, and campus resources.

Through this chapter’s efforts, not only is their campus a more conducive environment for talking about mental health openly and seeking help, but even future students are launching into the next chapter of their lives more equipped to have conversations about their and other’s mental health. Keep up the great work, Active Minds at Stockton University!


October’s Chapter of the Month: Denison University Fri, 30 Oct 2015 08:51:57 +0000 11026215_828194107228886_7673732389288780279_n

Congratulations to Active Minds at Denison University for being named Chapter of the Month! This recently reactivated chapter is consistently engaging their campus with awesome programs and meetings that help to raise mental health awareness and fight stigma! Find out some of the top reasons that we love Active Minds at Denison University:


1. Strong reactivation

Kristina Keidel, a junior at Denison University, helped to reconnect Denison’s chapter with the national office based on her strong passion for mental health awareness.  This chapter formerly brought about four to six members to their meetings, but now has over 50 people at their weekly meetings, according to The Den, an on-campus newspaper at Denison University. Not only have they built up their membership, but they have also reached the wider campus community in ways they hadn’t before reactivating as a chapter.


Active Minds at Denison University student leaders at the 2014 National Mental Health on Campus Conference

2. Creative Take on Mental Health Awareness Week

They combined various types of programming throughout their week-long event to reach different campus communities and were featured in the Denisonian, for their efforts like self-care packages, positive message name tags, student and faculty panel, karaoke night, and food truck fun. They combined mental health education and conversations with stress reducing and fun activities to spread the word about this fairly new organization on campus.


Denison University students making self-care packages as part of Mental Health Awareness Week

3. Extremely Successful Fundraising

Active Minds at Denison University has had enormous success fundraising during the 2014-2015 academic year as well as so far this year. Their fundraising efforts included a Denison-themed raffle with tickets sold during parents weekend, personal fundraising pages online, and other efforts at their programs. Within their first year as a re-established chapter, this chapter was able to raise over $1,000, surpassing their annual chapter fundraising goal! This year Denison’s chapter has already met their yearly goal of $1,000 through a family donation and a donation of a portion of the proceeds from a jewelry show that one of the board members hosted over the summer. They also applied for grants through their university to acquire additional funding for programs like National Day Without Stigma. This chapter has proved that fundraising is the most successful when using multiple avenues to raise money!


Denison students eating pizza from a food truck that donated 15% of the profits to Active Minds

4. Relationship with Counseling Center

Denison’s chapter works closely with their counseling center, Whisler Health Services, to encourage students to seek help if they need it. A Denison sophomore, Sam Stamas, was quoted in The Den’s article about Active Minds as saying that “anyone can go to counseling. You don’t have to be having any major issues, or even issues at all – if you just want someone to talk to and listen, that is 100% fine.” Besides clarifying the misconceptions around counseling, Active Minds at Denison University is working with the counseling center to create mock counseling intake sessions for students who want to see what counseling is like before regularly going to sessions.


Denison students and faculty in a Mental Health Panel as part of Mental Health Awareness Week

This group of dedicated students at Denison University has been impressive right from the start. We can’t wait to see what else you will do to change the conversation about mental health on your campus!