Changing the conversation about mental health is the mission of Active Minds, a national, student-run advocacy club introduced at SUNY Cortland a year ago this month.
“I’ve dealt with a lot of people close to me fighting mental illness,” said current SUNY Cortland Active Minds President Jill Doyle, a senior community health major from Middletown, N.J. “It was time for me to make a difference on my campus.”
Victoria Evans ’16, a communication studies major, was the driving force behind creating a Cortland chapter to begin cultivating a more positive attitude towards mental illness on campus. The non-profit organization, founded in 2000, has more than 400 campus chapters and hundreds of thousands of members across the nation.
|Members of the Active Minds e-board met recently to plan an event.|
Doyle describes her time involved in the club as “rewarding.”
“There is no better feeling than realizing I helped create a club that could be such a big help to someone who may be struggling,” said Doyle.
In the past, Active Minds has collaborated with the Psychology Club to hold open forums and give students a place to de-stress.
Active Minds collaborates with Cortland County’s Mental Health Department, and they are planning a joint “Out of Darkness” suicide prevention walk for Fall 2017, building on past events the group has undertaken.
“Working on the suicide prevention walk was one of my most memorable moments while involved in this club,” said junior club e-board member Kim Persico, a psychology major from Lynbrook, N.Y. “Meeting people that were deeply affected by mental health gave me the drive to want to do more on my own college campus.”
The goal of this walk is to increase awareness and raise $10,000 to donate to the American Foundation for Suicide.
Aside from the walk, Active Minds has a lot on the agenda this semester.
During February, the club will collaborate with the Health Promotion office’s series of events aimed to foster well-being within the campus community. On Thursday, Feb. 23, during Body Appreciation Week, the College will screen a documentary film, “Embrace,” focused on healthy body image.
Another club event, “Stress-Less Week,” will take place just before finals week and is dedicated to raising awareness about stress and ways to fight it across the Cortland Campus. During that week, Active Minds members will make a panic, anxiety and stress support kit (PASS). The kits include a face mask, stress ball, gum, ear plugs and an inspirational quote.
Active Minds meets at 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays in the Corey Union Caleion Room. For more information, contact Doyle.
Prepared by Communications Office writing intern Jessica Haverlin