PostSecret – Active Minds Blog Changing the conversation about mental health Wed, 21 Dec 2016 21:09:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 From the Active Minds Speakers Bureau: Five Reasons to Consider Volunteering for a Crisis Hotline Sat, 24 Sep 2016 12:00:39 +0000 Frank Warren is the creator of PostSecret and a member of the Active Minds Speakers Bureau. Bring Frank to your campus to speak about mental health. 


1. It will help you become more compassionate.
“Before you can volunteer, the centers work with you on a couple of things. They encourage you to be as nonjudgmental as possible. They encourage you to allow the caller to share, to talk about anything at all. They help you develop a voice of compassion and empathy.”

2. You’ll meet some of the best people around.
“You’ll never meet more generous, hopeful, giving people than the other volunteers on a suicide hotline.”

hopeline3. You might find that in helping others, you’re also helping yourself.
“I think the work I did as a suicide prevention volunteer, listening to people’s deepest secrets at 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 A.M., helped me just as much as it did them. I was suffering from some of the feelings I see on postcards every week. One way out for me was volunteering for a suicide hotline. It was a lifeline for me in many ways.”

4. It teaches you that your weaknesses can be transformed into strengths.
“I got a postcard two days ago that said something to the effect of “Therapists who’ve been broken are the best people to help and heal others.” It’s like Hemingway said – “We are all broken – that’s how the light gets in.” I’d much rather seek help from someone who could identify my struggles and found their way out than someone who couldn’t relate.”

5. Sharing secrets makes both the teller and the listener stronger.
“People share secrets about things like addiction, an eating disorder, self harm. When they finish, we see that experience doesn’t have to be a negative. It can be a positive, a story of healing that you’re able to share for others and let them know they’re not alone.”


Crisis Text Line is the free, nationwide, 24/7 text line for people in crisis. Volunteer Crisis Counselors are superheroes with laptops instead of capes, and you can apply to volunteer for them here. If you or your friend is in an IMMEDIATE CRISIS call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “BRAVE” to 741-741 to reach Crisis Text Line. Both are available 24/7.

Mental Health News Round-Up: July 22 Fri, 22 Jul 2016 12:59:46 +0000 frankwarrenFrank Warren Holds the Key to Public Speaking Genius
Frank Warrens, the creator of PostSecret and a member of the Active Minds Speakers Bureau, is considered one of the best public speakers thanks to one thing: charisma. Janice Tomich, a professional speaking coach, says that Frank’s TED Talk “Half a Million Secrets,” is the perfect example: Frank successfully connects with his audience through humor, engagement, and taking pauses to let his messages sink in.
Bring Frank Warren to your campus to speak about mental health. 
Study: Influence of Genetics on Mental Health Depends on Environment
Researchers recently found that genetics can be linked to mental illness. Certain genes don’t cause mental illness, but they can increase a person’s sensitivity to environmental stressors.

The House Just Passed the Most Important Mental Health Bill in Decades
The House just passed the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, which seeks to increase hospital beds for mental health patients, establish grants, and implement a committee to focus on serious mental illness. This bill hopes to end the stigma and encourage millions of Americans to seek mental health care.
Tackling Workers’ Mental Health, One Text at a Time
According to University of Michigan Depression Center, untreated mental health has lead to a loss of $44 billion in workplace productivity. Employers are encouraging workers to seek mental health treatment right at their fingertips, through their smartphones. New mobile apps are emerging to help people easy access to treatment through text and video chats with therapists.
Ali Krieger’s Strategy For Taking Setbacks In Stride
U.S. women’s soccer team defender Ali Krieger shares her story of how she overcame the “athlete” stigma to seek mental health care. After her knee injury, she didn’t fall into depression; rather, she fought disappointment in the same way she would with any other mental illness. In addition, psychiatrist, Dr. Dayna LePattell gives tips to coping with disappointment in four different ways.
From the Active Minds Speakers Bureau: Be Who You Needed Wed, 06 Jul 2016 12:34:47 +0000 Frank Warren is the creator of PostSecret and a member of the Active Minds Speakers Bureau. Bring Frank to your campus to speak about mental health. 

Picture 1

I posted this image on the PostSecret Facebook page last week and it reached nearly 5,000,000 people.

I don’t know the specific reasons why so many people chose to share this simple message. Maybe as an adult, someone still feels the shards from a broken past. Or maybe some find solace in the idea that no matter how meaningless life can feel sometimes, we can always find purpose in reducing suffering. Perhaps a young person read this and clung on to the hope that the pain they are working through today could be the source of a gift that later in life offers help and healing to others.

I have one of my secrets in all six of the PostSecret books. In the second book, My Secret, this one is mine.

Picture 2

When I was younger I felt like I was going insane.

One of the stories I tell about this at PostSecret Live events is how my parents’ divorce led to a lot of stress and even violence in my home. One night, I ran from my mother, hid in my room and locked the door.  My mother retrieved our floor mop that had a metal rinser attached to the head and used it to break through one of the panels in my door so she could reach in, unlock the knob, and come after me. When she entered my room, I had already left through the window.

I had escaped but the worst part was still to come.

It had been snowing that night and I didn’t have time to get my shoes. So with my mothers’ head through the open window watching, I ran down the street to my friend’s house with my shoeless feet. When I arrived, I was thankful not to see his parents’ car in the driveway. He let me in and asked me why I was shivering out in the cold snowy night without shoes.  I have forgotten what my reply was but I can still feel the shame I felt then when I told a lie to hide my secret.

Every time I share that story I feel like I get a little more ownership of that painful part of my past. That sense of becoming unbound from our secrets is something I have heard from the PostSecret community too. One email I received from a girl who, like me, had a broken bedroom door said:

Hearing other stories about people who had an abusive parent like mine doesn’t depress me because all this time I thought I was the only one.  And just knowing there are other kids out there who share my story, it doesn’t make my secret go away, but it does make my burden feel just a little bit lighter.


Reading over a million secrets and sharing our stories over a decade has been very revealing. Perhaps the three revelations that I have learned about our secrets are these:

It’s an illusion that we are alone with our secrets.

We decide if our secrets will be gifts we can share or ghosts that haunt us.

And lastly,

Picture 3

10 Reasons to Bring PostSecretU to Your Campus Mon, 15 Feb 2016 13:58:58 +0000 You’ve probably heard of PostSecret, the amazing public art project where people anonymously mail in their secrets to creator Frank Warren. But did you know that you can bring a PostSecret event on your campus through Active Minds? That’s the wonder of PostSecretU!

There are a lot of reasons to bring PostSecretU to your campus. We’ve narrowed them down to 10 we think are most compelling and added several GIFs for our own (and hopefully your) amusement.

10. Start a tradition on your campus

PostSecretU can easily be made into an annual program that students on campus look forward to.

9. To raise awareness about mental health resources.

Every PostSecretU kit comes with personalized sticky notes with information about campus and local counseling services.

8. To show people that they are not alone.

Whatever it is someone might be dealing with–whatever they are keeping inside–PostSecretU offers the opportunity to get it out. Not to mention the fact that people inevitably find secrets that mirror their own.

7. Program credits!

When you participate in PostSecretU, we’ll give you money back toward your annual fundraising goal. Sweet!

6. To promote acceptance and understanding.

Many of us get locked into patterns where we move through our days almost robotically. PostSecretU offers the opportunity for people to look up, break their routines, and really see each other authentically. And when we do that, we tend to have a bit more compassion for what they’re going through.

5. To rise above stigma and take away the shame.

A critical mass of secrets from students admitting to diagnoses and treatment is a visual testament to the fact that none of us should be ashamed of seeking help.

4. To laugh together.

A lot of secrets aren’t that serious. In fact, some are pretty hilarious.

3. To promote your chapter.

PostSecretU grabs people’s attention with its humanity. And once you have their attention, tell them who you are and how they can join you.

2. To promote awareness of mental illness on your campus.

For the 75% who aren’t struggling with a mental illness, PostSecretU is a helpful reminder that they know people who struggle and there are signs of distress they should be looking out for.

1. Connect your campus community to ensure an understanding and open environment for people struggling with mental illnesses.

A successful PostSecretU campaign is collaborative and community-oriented. When you decide to participate in PostSecretU, you have the opportunity to develop avenues of collaboration with faculty, administrators, and student organizations you might have never worked with otherwise. This opens up conversations about mental health, and that’s what moves our culture to a more open and accepting place.

If you’re interested in learning more about PostSecretU, go to

This PostSecret Submission Shocked Frank Warren Thu, 29 Oct 2015 08:46:18 +0000 Want to bring Frank to your campus to talk about PostSecret and mental health? Learn more here.


This PostSecret submission arrived at my home yesterday and shocked me.

It shocks me because it reveals how this generation is courageously changing how we understand our mental wellness.

When I was younger, I struggled with depression and anxiety, like many of us, but I kept it a secret and in the darkness it got worse.  I suffered longer, needlessly, because I was afraid that if others knew my struggles they would judge me. The old stigmas handed down from earlier generations kept me from asking for the help that was waiting for me.

I am so hopeful that this generation will continue to take ownership of mental wellness issues so that never again will we be ashamed to tell our stories and get the help we deserve.

Submit your own secret to PostSecret today.

It’s No Secret Why I Joined the Active Minds Speakers Bureau Wed, 25 Feb 2015 16:08:37 +0000 Frank Warren, creator of the worldwide phenomenon PostSecret, recently joined the Active Minds Speakers Bureau. Bring Frank to your campus today!

Frank Warren--Secrets can be walls or bridges headshotWhen I started PostSecret, it felt like a creative prank — but asking strangers to share their deepest secrets with me on postcards would illuminate a hidden world we all share and create a community of courage and compassion.

I hate working as a janitor for arrogant rich people so I clean their computer keyboards with the toilet brush.

I know my neighbor is a peeping tom… So I occasionally give him a free show.

everytime I work up the nerve to swallow the pills someone does something to make me want to live and i’ve never said thank you for saving my life. people have no idea how far kindness can go. i’m LIVING proof.

These secrets mailed to me on artful postcards show how the project quickly became something more than the lark it started as. I began to draw upon my past volunteer work on the National Suicide Prevention Hotline and started sharing the secrets and inspiring stories in books and at speaking events to audiences across the US and around the world.

Because most of the secrets are mailed from young people, I feel a special connection to those audiences. The secrets also reminded me of my own feelings of loneliness and lack of direction that I felt when I was in high school and college.

One of the highlights of my speaking career was being invited to deliver the keynote address at the Active Minds National Mental Health on Campus Conference this past November. It was so gratifying to see so many enthusiastic students taking ownership of the issues that my generation kept secret in destructive ways. It made me wish that Active Minds had been around when I was younger.

I believe it could have not only helped me through some of my own struggles as a young person, but also created an opportunity for me to help some of my classmates and make a real difference in how mental illness is understood culturally and how national policy addresses it.

When an Active Minds chapter puts in the work to bring a PostSecret Live! Event to their campus, it is exciting for me because often they create awareness for the event in advance with a campus-wide PostSecret U program.

At PostSecret Live! Events, I look forward to meeting all the club members and usually a club officer will introduce me and is able to tell the audience about upcoming Active Minds activities.

After that, I start the multimedia celebration of secrets that may end with audience members sharing their own. Those courageous confessions from classmates can be emotional, cathartic and generate campus discussions afterward.

These student secrets shared live for the first time are always unpredictable but uncover at least two truths:

No one is alone with their secret and…

Trust Your Story.

Contact Active Minds to book Frank Warren for your event!

Active Minds Speakers Bureau Welcomes Frank Warren, Kevin Briggs Thu, 19 Feb 2015 13:26:54 +0000 unnamedWhat do Frank Warren, author and creator of the PostSecret Project and Kevin Briggs, “Guardian of the Golden Gate Bridge” have in common?  They’ve both joined Active Minds Speakers Bureau as Affinity Speakers!

Along with our 12 Exclusive Speakers, these two new stars bring their distinct experiences and perspectives to an already dazzling constellation of highly-trained professional mental health presenters.

About Kevin Briggs:

A former California Highway Patrol officer, Kevin Briggs helped prevent more than 200 suicides during his career, becoming known as “the Guardian of the Golden Gate Bridge.” Today, he promotes mental health awareness through his crisis intervention and leadership organization, Pivotal Points, and speaks worldwide about suicide prevention. His story has been featured in The New YorkerPeople Magazine and Men’s Health Magazine, and his own TED talk.

About Frank Warren:

Frank Warren created the community art project and worldwide phenomenon PostSecret, which allows people to mail in their secrets anonymously on a homemade postcard. Selected secrets are then published on Since PostSecret’s inception, Warren has received over one million postcards. They have been curated for six New York Times bestselling books and exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art. He travels the world discussing how the project has changed lives and why suicide awareness is a part of his life’s work.

You may have heard Kevin and Frank speak at Active Minds’ 11th Annual National Mental Health on Campus Conference in November 2014. Frank’s presentation was the place to be on Friday night, when he spoke to a standing room-only crowd of conference attendees, highlighting secrets received from his PostSecret contributors,and encouraging those in the audience to share their own secrets in a safe and supportive environment. Framed by slides of actual postcards he has received over the course of the project, Frank gently reminded us that we all have secrets — even some we keep from ourselves.

Kevin Briggs closed the conference on Sunday morning, delivering his powerful program to a packed ballroom of listeners who heard his message of survival, courage and hope. Illustrated with images gathered over a 23-year law enforcement career, Kevin’s presentation was inspiring and touching, and punctuated with stories told with candor and humility.

Active Minds Speakers enjoy a solid reputation for providing honest, reflective and genuine stories of personal adversity and triumph, hardship and healing.  Kevin Briggs and Frank Warren, as seasoned advocates of mental health awareness and real-life stigma-fighters, are ready to come to your chapter, your campus, your community, and share their energy and enthusiasm with your group, while offering real insight into why we need organizations like Active Minds and people like you to become mental health warriors.

Contact the Active Minds Speakers Bureau to find out how to bring Frank Warren or Kevin Briggs to speak at your next event.

3 Conference Keynote Speakers You Won’t Want to Miss Tue, 14 Oct 2014 12:05:52 +0000 Our National Mental Health on Campus Conference is exactly one month away, and we couldn’t be more excited about our fantastic lineup of keynote speakers.

Meet our three keynote speakers, who are truly changing the conversation about mental health around the world.

BriggsandGGB_web_183_37Kevin Briggs, “Guardian of the Golden Gate Bridge,” Pivotal Points

Sergeant Kevin Briggs has touched hundreds of lives, and continues to reach hundreds more.  As a former California Highway Patrol officer, Briggs helped hundreds of people who were contemplating suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge to come back over the bridge’s rail and give life another chance. These challenging, but life-changing efforts earned him the nickname “Guardian of the Golden Gate Bridge.”

After a 23 year career with the California Highway Patrol, Briggs retired to dedicate his life to promote mental health awareness across the globe, founding Pivotal Points, an organization that works to promote Suicide Prevention, Crisis Management, and Leadership Skills.

Hear him speak Sunday, Nov. 16 from 11 am to 12 pm.

Kay Redfield Jamison, PhDKay Redfield Jamison, PhD

Kay Redfield Jamison, PhD, is a professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  As a founder of UCLA’s Affective Disorder Clinic and a co-author of a standard medical text on bipolar disorder, Jamison is one of the foremost authorities on the subject. She is also one of its survivors.

Jamison provides an insightful perspective as both an expert in bipolar disorder and a sufferer of the disease. She is the author of the national best sellers An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and MadnessNight Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide, and Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament. In addition to her literature success, Jamison is author or co-author of more than 100 scientific papers about mood disorders, creativity, and psychopharmacology.

Hear her speak Saturday, Nov. 15 from 11 am to 12 pm.

frankwarren_web_180x163Frank Warren, creator of the PostSecret Project

Frank Warren started PostSecret as a community art project where he invited total strangers to anonymously mail in their secrets on a homemade postcard. Now, PostSecret is global phenomenon. Frank has received over 1 million secrets in his mailbox with more arriving every day but Sunday.

Across the United States, students have brought PostSecretU, the official PostSecret event for college campuses, to their schools to spark conversations about mental health. has won seven Webby Awards and is the most visited advertisement-free blog in the world. The postcards have been curated for five New York Times bestselling books (a sixth will be published in November 2014) and have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art and the American Visionary Art Museum.

Frank has traveled the world sharing secrets and stories from Australia to the White house. In 2011 Frank was awarded the ‘HopeLine Lifetime Achievement Award’ for his work on suicide prevention and was invited to the White House to work on issues of mental wellness.

Hear him speak on Friday, Nov. 14 from 6 to 9 p.m. during the annual awards dinner.

If you haven’t already registered, grab your spot at #MHCC14 today!