Exercising the mind

Active Minds brings mental health awareness to campus

By Kim Sorenson, News Editor

“I’m realizing that [mental health] is just as important as physical health. Your well being matters.” — Neil Sacks, Schoolcraft Active Minds Founder
Mental health is a major problem that effects college students, but most do not feel comfortable talking about it. Many sufferers of a mental illness often live in silence about their condition, not allowing themselves to get the help they need. They avoid seeking treatment because of the stigma surrounding mental health. Active Minds is a student led group on campus that allows students to speak freely about what they are going through. With chapters all over the country, Active Minds promotes positive work in providing mental health awareness and education.
Student Neil Sacks who was looking for a group to join that focused on psychology founded Schoolcraft’s chapter in the Fall 2015. After realizing there were no related clubs on campus, Sacks met with campus counselors where they suggested starting an Active Minds chapter.
“I’m realizing that [mental health] it just as important as physical health. Your wellbeing matters,” said Sacks, “Hopefully one day this will be able to reach a bigger audience and starting college students can understand the value of mental health, what it means, and not to overlook it.”
The story of Alison Malmon, the founder of the Active Minds organization as a whole, is what sold Sacks on starting the club. Malmon began the organization as a junior at the University of Pennsylvania in 2002. Her brother, who had also been a student at the University of Pennsylvania, had been suffering from a schizoaffective disorder for years before he told anyone, and by that time it was too late. Sadly, her brother ended his life. Malmon founded this non-profit organization to prevent anyone from suffering in silence and ending their lives like her brother did.
Interested students should check out the club during their Thursday meetings at 4:30 p.m. in the Lower Level Watermen Wing of the VisTaTech Center. Anyone is welcome and encouraged to come. Meetings consist of attendees coming together and talking about the effects of mental health and how to raise awareness on campus. Members are also invited to talk about their own struggles with mental health and are welcomed in an accepting environment. Speeches and presentations about mental health are also held and open to members and the public.
Upcoming events
On Thursday, April 7 at 6:30 pm, Active Minds will be co-hosting a screening of the movie “Anonymous People” with Actively Moving Forward and the Student Activities Office. The film is a documentary about the many sufferers of alcohol and drug addictions. The event is open to the public and will take place in the Lower Waterman of the VisTaTech Center.
Active Minds is currently working on a service project by teaming up with a group of middle school girls who formed an organization called Beyond H2O. They are raising money to help the children affected by the Flint water crisis. Many of the kids have been affected by lead poisoning, and the girls are putting together backpacks with learning tools and games for the kids to use at home. Along with this project, Active Minds is looking to put together a Stress-Less Luau, which would happen at the end of April to combat test-anxiety.
For more information about Active Minds, contact the Student Activities Office at 734-462-4422.