Kindness Rocks Project: Inside UMass Active Minds

On Wednesday, Sept. 27, the UMass Active Minds chapter met to participate in the Kindness Rocks Project, a campaign that aims to brighten peoples’ days with uplifting quotes hand-painted onto rocks left in unexpected places. This was the club’s second meeting of the year, and it focused on anxiety disorders, which are becoming increasingly prevalent on college campuses, despite being heavily misunderstood. To kick off the night, the club split off into different groups and each member painted his or her own rock. I chose to paint the words “I am enough” on my rock: my favorite daily affirmation that reminds me to stop comparing myself to others. It was a very therapeutic activity after a hectic day of classes; fortunately, Active Minds does similar art activities during meetings from time to time, like bracelet-making.

When the painting was finished, the club rejoined and we watched informational videos about anxiety and how to tell the difference between stress and anxiety. As usual, we opened the floor up to discussion at the end of the meeting. Group members shared their personal experiences with anxiety, thoughts surrounding the stigma against it, and what they wished other people understood about it. This is my favorite part about being a member of Active Minds — it’s such a safe and comfortable environment to discuss all aspects of mental illness without feeling judged or abnormal.

Active Minds meets at 7 p.m. in the Campus Center every other Wednesday. We’re looking forward to planning future events such as an open mic night, suicide prevention display, and eating disorder awareness campaign. Our next project will be the renowned Stigma Tree, where students write down common stigmas of mental illness on strips of paper and tie them to a tree for people to read as they walk by. To join the club or for more information, email [email protected].

The painted rocks have been placed inside and outside all around campus, so be on the lookout!

Images courtesy of the author.