Reach out, speak up

By: Charlotte Cheek ~Staff Writer~

Active Minds pic
Photo courtesy of | Active Minds helps students struggling with mental illness and anxiety.

If you have ever noticed abnormal things around campus, such as backpacks across the academic mall and puppies surrounded by students, you may be wondering where those things are coming from. “Active Minds spreads educational awareness and fights stigma surrounding mental health issues through educational activities, awareness events, and de-stressing events,” senior Caitlin Mack, president of Active Minds, said. “Stigma is the negative connotation that happens when you hear words surrounding a certain group of people.”

The backpacks, puppies and inflatable bouncy houses were all Active Minds events that were designed to help raise awareness about mental health and de-stress students. In addition to these events, Active Minds hosted the second annual Words Hurt Dodgeball on Nov. 6. Active Minds partnered with Xavier Alliance for the dodgeball event.

“Our groups share a lot of the same stigma,” Mack said. “The point of that was to show that what people say can hurt someone.”

“It’s important because no one really thinks twice about the hurtful words they say,” first-year student Emily Kehling said. “My team even won $50.”

Active Minds will be hosting de-stressing events during finals week and National Eating Disorder Awareness Week in late February. The club meets every Thursday at 8:30 p.m. in Gallagher 214. The meetings are typically de-stressing activities or education on mental health.

“We have done things like putting encouraging signs on mirrors and having speakers,” Mack said.

The primary focus of Active Minds is spreading awareness about mental health issues and helping those who are struggling with them. “Active Minds has really helped me. It’s okay to have a mental illness, it does not mean you are a bad person,” Mack said.

If you or a friend is struggling with a mental illness, reach out to Active Minds, McGrath counselors, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255).