A Message from Alison: Today is the Day

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I wish you could personally meet the students who benefit from your donations. Students like Victoria Pae, a recent graduate from Boston University who found health and success through Active Minds, and Luke Beischel, who looks back with appreciation at the difference that Active Minds makes and is now a major contributor.

They’re the reason for our work, but you’re the reason for their success.

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Victoria is Ready to Take on the World

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Students who lead Active Minds chapters are among the best and the brightest on college campuses. They are part of a new generation that is speaking openly, acting courageously, and changing the conversation around mental health.
Case in point — Victoria Pae, outgoing president of the Active Minds chapter at Boston University, who inspires us in so many ways. Read her story below!

During freshman year at Boston University, I wouldn’t admit I had a problem. Everyone else seemed to have it together. I kept telling myself it was all in my head, to just get over it.

And then I found Active Minds.

It was through the BU chapter that I realized it’s ok to ask for help. Because of Active Minds, I ended up getting support for the anxiety I was battling. The chapter members there never judged me; they strengthened me with hope.

Active Minds at Boston University

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As 2015 Ends, Will You Speak With Us?

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Over the past few weeks, you’ve heard directly from some of our students about their personal struggles with mental illness and stigma. They, like thousands of others across the country, found the support they desperately needed when they discovered Active Minds.

They are the reason Active Minds is so important. And they are the reason your support is so critical.

You make it possible for our students to get the help they need — more than 1/3 of our budget comes from individual contributions.For just $150, you can provide one student with the support, education and resources they need to succeed in college while living with a mental illness.

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I Am Not My Mental Illness

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I loved school like most “smart kids” do. Nothing was too difficult until the end of my junior year of high school when I began to gain some weight.

A few of my friends had started using MyFitnessPal so I decided to download it. Though it was just an app, I soon felt like every time I logged a meal, I was disappointing it. I became terrified of messing up and eating more than the voice in my head was telling me to. Soon the app became the least of my worries.

By the time I started college at the University of Georgia in 2014, I was overwhelmed with depression and suicidal thoughts. I remember telling myself that I would rather be sick and thin than happy and fat. My life was out of control. No one was paying attention to how long I was at the gym or how infrequently I ate. I hid my eating disorder because I was ashamed.

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Silence Kills, So We Speak

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Fifteen years ago, my brother Brian died by suicide. After his death, I knew I needed to fight back against the silence that had taken his life. That’s why I started Active Minds.

Today, Active Minds is a network of 400+ chapters comprised of more than 11,000 student leaders in 46 states. The transformational change that Active Minds chapters and the individual leaders in our network have been able to achieve is a remarkable testimonial to the necessity of Active Minds’ work.

Mental illness affects more young people than all other chronic diseases. Last year more than 157,000 youth received medical care for suicide attempts in the U.S alone. This global problem has enormous social and economic implications and is by no means getting enough prevention funding or attention from our government or the private sector. That’s where Active Minds comes in.

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October’s Chapter of the Month: Denison University

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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.

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

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Program Spotlight: Loyola’s Easter Break Shuttles

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BtZCmoOCQAAginS-300x300Let’s hear it for Active Minds at Loyola University in Maryland for their participation in the on-campus Easter Break Shuttle — these stigma fighters have fundraising down to a tee!

On April 1st and 2nd, two days leading up to Easter Break at Loyola, the Student Government Association offered $10 shuttles to pick up students from campus and drive them to the local airport in Baltimore, about 45 minutes south of campus, making it possible for out-of-state students to receive an affordable trip to the airport and to get home safely for Easter Break. The Active Minds chapter was chosen as one of four organizations to serve as beneficiaries of the profits, allowing them to raise funds at the same time!

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From Alison: Thank You to Our Supporters!

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TY Sign-v2During the busy end-of-the-year season, it’s easy to set aside the things we’d like to do and focus on the things we need to do. I want to thank all of our donors for doing both.

Active Minds continues to grow and flourish because of your support. Thank you for joining us on this journey. Here’s to a new year full of changing the conversation about mental health.