Active Minds Club becomes active once again

Club seeks to raise awareness for mental health

Written By Hattie Charney, Co-Features Editor

The once deactivated Active Minds Club is reactivated and ready to help students discuss and handle mental health issues.

Active Minds Club is a chapter of the national organization Active Minds. The club is an advocacy, awareness and education group that strives to erase stigmas surrounding mental health. One of its initiatives is to raise money for the national chapter which goes into education and research on mental health.

Casey Davis, a senior public relations and advertising major, talked with Rachel Phillips, a graduate assistant for Student Activities, Involvement and Leadership (SAIL), about forming a new club about mental health. Phillips mentioned reactivating Active Minds Club.

“I worked with Casey and her executive team to get the okay from USG [United Student Government] and from their National chapter to restart the chapter on campus,” Phillips said.

Davis, president of Active Minds Club, said this club and its purpose has become “her baby.” She fully believes in the support for mental health and how students should be talking to each other about it to raise awareness.

“It is such a basic idea but it’s so important to talk about your mental health,” Davis said. “It’s huge, especially in college.”

Angela Rusnak, sophomore performance and practices major and treasurer of the Active Minds Club, first heard about the club from Davis and was immediately ready to get involved.

“Mental health is something that I am so passionate about,” Rusnak said. “It’s something that I struggle with myself and it needs to be spoken about more in colleges and just in society in general.”

An advisor for the club is a part of the counseling center here on campus. Davis said that having an advisor from the counseling center on campus can not only help the club, but members of the student body who may not know how to get in touch with the counseling center.

“The counseling center is a great resource but some kids might not feel comfortable with that,” Davis said. “Some kids might also not feel comfortable doing peer-to-peer so we’re there to let them know that the counseling center is always available and we have a person in there for you but you don’t have to be there if you don’t want to.”

Students who may not feel comfortable with talking to professionals are given another outlet through the peer-based club.

“We want to keep a peer-to-peer type of group that helps in a way that our counseling center might not be able to,” Davis said.

Davis is in talks with the psychology club for combined events in the future. She also mentioned some events that they want to host in the future.

“There’s this thing called ‘laughing yoga’ and you just laugh the whole time,” Davis said. “It sounds weird but it’s supposed to make you so happy and energized.”

Davis also mentioned hosting a stand-up night to give students a way to de-stress as well as trying to get more dogs on campus to raise morale during high-stress periods.

“Everybody is stressed and even if you aren’t dealing with actual mental health issues, it’s just the stress,” Davis said.

Davis said she wants to start with smaller events to get their name out there. She has set various goals for the club as to what they want to achieve throughout this year including helping students de-stress.

“I want to have general meetings. I want to have peer-to-peer meetings that are open to people who aren’t in the club and don’t want to participate, but want to just come and talk and hang out for a night,” Davis said.

Davis wants to stress that the Active Minds Club is a peer-to-peer group. They as students cannot offer the same kind of advice as a professional licensed counselor could, but they are there as a peer to offer friendly advice.

“It can help create a more nurturing and welcoming environment for students to talk more openly about their mental health,” Rusnak said.

Davis complements Rusnak’s views on the importance of creating an open environment.

“We’re experiencing all the same things and we’re all sitting together in the same school so we might as well be comfortable and be open-minded,” Davis said.

Active Minds Club’s first meeting is this evening at 7:00 p.m. in Academic Hall room 719.

The first meeting will be an overview of the Active Minds Club and its goals. Davis said she wants to see what people’s ideas are and what they need from the club itself. 

“I want to get a general feel of who’s involved and what they really need personally so that we can schedule some peer-to-peer time instead of just having a meeting basically dictating what we’re doing and saying and asking people for ideas,” Davis said.

Davis is hoping to fill open chair positions such as a fundraising chair, community outreach chair, social media chair and research chair at the meeting.

“The national chapter’s big goal is to reduce suicide in teens,” Davis said. “It’s the second leading cause of death for college students which I had no idea about that and that’s huge. I mean if we can talk one person off of a metaphorical ledge, it’s just changing this campus so slightly and I think that’s a really important thing to do.”