By Aimee Chiavaroli
If you’re stressed or looking for someone to talk to, Active Minds is the club for you.
Active Minds, a club that advocates for mental health on campus, is a chapter of a national nonprofit organization by the same name.
“It’s supposed to be a safe space where people can talk about their experiences and ask questions,” President of Active Minds Joanna Politi,’16, said.
The organization was founded by Alison Malmon when she was at the University of Pennsylvania, after her older brother Brian’s suicide. Malmon wanted to start the conversation about mental illness at her school because she noticed how many people are affected by it. It was originally named Open Minds, but changed to Active Minds as word spread and more students and campuses got involved.
“We want to get people talking about mental health,” Politi said.
The club meets biweekly on Mondays at 8 p.m. in Duffy 219. Mental health issues and topics are assigned to meetings. Members are encouraged to find related articles or videos to share with the group.
Otherwise, people at the meeting talk about how they are feeling and receive support from the group, Politi said.
The club’s first meeting this semester was scheduled the night of the Kennedy Clifford ’17 vigil memorial. Instead of having a meeting, Politi encouraged everyone to go to the vigil to show support, noting it was important to have Active Minds represented.
Recently, some members were worried about course registration, she said. The club offered advice on what classes to take, what not to take and where to register. The advice helped students know what they were doing and relieved some stress, she said.
Active Minds sponsors stress-relieving activities and plans more closer to finals. Last year, as a merit point program, “Happy,” a documentary about what makes people happy, was shown and last semester the club had a table at the Health and Wellness Fair. Politi taught people how to crochet as a stress-reliever. Glitter jars have also been made.
“Take a moment for yourself to relax,” she said. “The more stressed you are, the more likely you are to be depressed.”
The group wants to focus on depression and advocates for taking care of yourself and being mentally and physically healthy, Politi said.
She wants to include an activity in future meetings where each person shares something he or she plans to do for themselves that week. Members share what works for them and offer suggestions.
Politi suggests going to the gym, a personal stress relieving activity. Politi also said it is important to be aware of what you say.
“Don’t say ‘I’m going to kill myself’ in a joking way or call people crazy. Don’t undermine real psychological issues.”
She said Active Minds tries to make people more aware of the issues, and help them realize many people deal with these invisible illnesses and disabilities.