Active Minds: Reducing Mental Health Stigma

My roommate was the one to tell me about Active Minds, urging me to come to the first meeting with her. I didn’t know much about the group, other than the fact that it focused on mental health, and since I’m a psychology major who deals with my own mental health problems, that was enough to spark my interest.

Mental health is one of the most relevant topics in today’s society, especially on college campuses. For an issue that pertains to so many people, and not just the people who have a clinical diagnosis, it shocks me how much stigma and discomfort come with the topic. Luckily, groups like Active Minds strive to eliminate the toxic stigmas surrounding mental health issues as well as raising awareness on campuses and providing a safe, supportive community for those who wish to speak about their experiences and opinions.

I sat down with Anna Wagner, the president of Active Minds, to talk a little more about the student group and how it impacts our campus community.

What are your group’s goals?

Active Minds as a national organization wants to focus on reducing the stigma, educating others about mental health, and as a chapter we really want to focus on building a really inclusive community where people can have these conversations about mental illness with unconditional positive regard.

How does this group contribute to the community on campus?

Even with a small membership, we still have the opportunity to be a catalyst for change and be able to collaborate with different groups. We serve as a solid foundation where our members can have a community and a safe space but then reach out to other groups and network together. Not every student knows about us, but we are in a really great position to make change and advocate for the mental health needs of students.

In the past year Active Minds collaborated with many other organizations on campus. Last spring they participated in Mental Health Awareness Day where they joined up with PAWS therapy animals and many other student groups who focus on mental health. Just this past week, Active Minds hosted a speaker for the Panhellenic community to discuss stigma on campus and discuss the importance of relationships with wellness.

How does one get involved in your organization?

Show up! The group meets every Thursday at 6:00 p.m. in Coffman 213.

If you or someone close to you has ever struggled with mental illness, I highly recommend attending a meeting. For more information on the group you can visit the organization’s website as well as the U of M chapter’s Facebook page or email [email protected]. One last thing, always remember that there are people on campus who will love and support you no matter how much you’re struggling, and you should never be afraid to share your feelings with the world.