Mental health organizations help students
Published: Monday, October 15, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 19:04
Alison Malmon, a University of Pennsylvania alumna, created an organization during her junior year to advocate for student mental health, in honor of her brother who committed suicide after suffering from depression and psychosis. She established Active Minds Inc. in 2003, and it has since spread to other campuses.
Last week, the organization’s university chapter held events in Trabant University Center for Mental Illness Awareness Week in order to provide students with information on mental health.
Seniors Hillary Porter and Lauren Tedeschi are the co-presidents of the Active Minds chapter at the university. Tedeschi said they organized several events for Mental Illness Awareness Week, along with the club’s eight executive board members. She said the organization was brought back to campus this year after she and Porter received an email asking for group leaders.
“The email sparked our interest, but we really wanted to do it because we realized how much people need this on campus,” Tedeschi said.
Porter said Active Minds gave out lollipops that each had a unique statistic in them, to promote awareness. She said on Oct. 10, in honor of National Day Without Stigma, the group hosted a “Stomp Out Stigma” event. According to Porter, the group gave students the opportunity to trace their footprint on a banner in support of eliminating the negative perception of mental illness.
Porter said the group teamed up with Career Services and Mental Health of Delaware on Thursday to host National Depression Screening Day, and students were able to come to Trabant’s multi-purpose room to meet with certified counselors and undergo a depression screening.
Junior Jessica Griffith said she stopped by the Active Minds kiosk in Trabant to support the organization and thought the club’s idea to put statistics on the candy wrappers was both innovative and effective. She also said she hopes events like this will encourage students to ask for help when they are facing too much stress.
“It’s good to always have someone to talk to,” Griffith said. “It reminds students to be responsible when it comes to stress.”
Tedeschi said the organization aims to bring the student body together and make mental illness a comfortable conversation topic. Active Minds is not only a club, but a tool aimed to help those in need on campus, she said.
Porter said Active Minds aims to eliminate the stigma of mental illness, raise awareness and provide resources for students. She said she hopes the events will help the organization achieve its educational goals.
“When students become more educated, they are more conscious of people with disorders,” Porter said.