PostSecretU – Active Minds Blog http://activemindsblog.org Changing the conversation about mental health Wed, 21 Dec 2016 21:09:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6.1 From the Active Minds Speakers Bureau: Five Reasons to Consider Volunteering for a Crisis Hotline http://activemindsblog.org/from-the-active-minds-speakers-bureau-five-reasons-to-consider-volunteering-for-a-crisis-hotline/ Sat, 24 Sep 2016 12:00:39 +0000 http://activemindsblog.org/?p=5589 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. 

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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.”

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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.

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From the Active Minds Speakers Bureau: Be Who You Needed http://activemindsblog.org/from-the-active-minds-speakers-bureau-be-who-you-needed/ Wed, 06 Jul 2016 12:34:47 +0000 http://activemindsblog.org/?p=5060 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. 

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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.

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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.

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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,

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10 Reasons to Bring PostSecretU to Your Campus http://activemindsblog.org/top-10-reasons-to-bring-post-secret-u-to-your-campus/ Mon, 15 Feb 2016 13:58:58 +0000 http://activemindsblog.org/?p=211 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 www.ActiveMinds.org/PostSecretU.

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The Story of PostSecret: The Show http://activemindsblog.org/the-story-of-postsecret-the-show/ Mon, 01 Feb 2016 16:52:45 +0000 http://activemindsblog.org/?p=4223 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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PostSecret: The Show is a five-year labor of love to tell those stories.  TJ Dawe, Kahlil Ashanti, Justin Sudds and myself first sat down at my dinning room table in 2010 selecting some of the never before seen secrets that would be the bones of the play.

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Now that the stage play has gone through dozens of refinements and years of workshops we are just kicked off its 23–city tour, this is how we describe the production for the media:

PostSecret: The Show is an immersive, poignant journey through the humor and humanity of the PostSecret project.  Projected images, videos, three actors and a guitarist guide the audience through crowd-sourced narratives revealing the true stories behind the secrets.  See the hopeful, shocking and revealing secrets that brought hundreds of millions of people to PostSecret.com, became six best-selling books and are currently in a Smithsonian Art exhibition.

With the bravery of Rent and the surprising honesty of The Vagina Monologues, PostSecret: The Show is a breakthrough in audience-sourced storytelling that reaches beyond the confines of the stage, reminding audiences that secrets can be both walls and bridges.

Personally, I like to say that PostSecret: The Show is a love-letter to the PostSecret community.

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At the beginning of the show, each actor tells one of their own secrets.  Then the transformative stories behind the secrets are brought to life on stage.

There is a scene about my most unforgettable call when I was a suicide hotline volunteer. There’s a chance for audience members to write their own secrets on postcards anonymously and have them shared back by the actors and many other surprises.

We share some of the secret (lies) that parents tell their children like; “My dad used to tell me that there were toys under the front yard, and if I picked enough weeds eventually a toy would pop out for me”, or “My dad told me that the same way that Santa Claus comes down the chimney for Christmas, the Easter Bunny comes up out of the toilet for Easter.”

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We share the story of Tina who courageously shared her secret about an eating disorder in the most heroic way.  And we tell how tens of thousands of people were inspired by a single postcard to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for suicide prevention and spearhead, “Please Don’t Jump Day” in San Francisco.

PostSecret: The Show is truly a celebration of secrets and at the end audience members get a chance to share back their thoughts and feelings to those who found the strength and vulnerability to tell their story.

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3 Conference Keynote Speakers You Won’t Want to Miss http://activemindsblog.org/3-conference-keynote-speakers-you-wont-want-to-miss/ Tue, 14 Oct 2014 12:05:52 +0000 http://activemindsblog.org/?p=1140 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. PostSecret.com 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!

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Bring PostSecretU to Your Campus this Year http://activemindsblog.org/bring-postsecretu-to-your-campus-this-year/ Tue, 05 Aug 2014 15:46:48 +0000 http://activemindsblog.org/?p=289 postsecretu_logo_round2

We are excited to announce that our popular program PostSecretU has expanded. Now, students with and without Active Minds chapters can bring PostSecretU to campuses across the country.

Active Minds PostSecretU is the campus version of Frank Warren’s popular project PostSecret, in which people anonymously mail in secrets on a homemade postcard. Our campus-based community art project allows students to share their own secrets and anonymously display them on campus.

Bringing PostSecretU to campus is an awesome way to spark conversation about mental health, raise hidden issues important to the community, and help change the way students view mental health issues.  By providing a creative outlet for students to express their voice on campus, PostSecretU helps promote mental health and foster positive campus change.

Interested in bringing PostSecretU to your campus? We can help you start planning right away!

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