By Lauren Coronado
Active Minds is a national organization that strives to educate and empower individuals to speak openly about mental health. Cal Poly Pomona’s chapter of Active Minds aims to change the culture on campus while encouraging students to understand mental health and to seek help as soon as needed. The chapter coordinates on and off-campus events to help remove the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
Treasurer Kate Posavatdy explains their chapter’s goals to reduce stigma and change the conversation of mental health.
“Some students find [mental health] embarrassing, even though it shouldn’t be,” said Posavatdy. “That’s one of our goals, to at least raise awareness about it. As an organization, we reach out to about 1,000 students per year.”
Active Minds is an outlet for students to understand mental health issues and the complexities associated with day-to-day behavior. The organization aims to help students feel less alone.
Madison McCracken, a second-year food and nutrition student, explained why she supports Active Minds.
“I personally have been affected by the stigma of mental health, and I just love the fact that we have a club on campus that is going out of their way to reduce that stigma,” said McCracken.
As a frequent participant in Active Minds events, McCracken encourages students to attend their events.
“There’s a lot that we don’t understand about mental health,” said McCracken. “Active Minds events are a really good way to come and learn about what mental health is and how it affects people on a daily basis.”
Active Minds hosts at least one event every quarter. They often partner with other on and off-campus organizations that promote mental health and wellbeing. McCracken found out about the organization last year and has been attending their events ever since. Her favorite event was Art with an Impact.
“Art with an Impact was a really cool way to let me know that I wasn’t alone in my struggles,” said McCracken. “There were a few art pieces thrown in [to the program] and a few short films. We were able to watch a film and talk about it with a group of people and discuss our experiences and how stigma has affected us and how the film impacted us.”
One of Active Minds’ most popular awareness activities is demonstrated on university campuses across the nation, and simply involves a backpack.
“They do this all over the country,” said Active Minds President Graham Wells. “They put out a backpack for each student at your campus who could have committed suicide, percentage-wise. I feel like those kind of activities is our way of looking out for the student body and letting them know about their resources.”
Student Counseling Services Health Educator Fernando Diaz explains how Active Minds started and where they hope to see themselves soon.
“Active Minds recently started just about three years ago,” said Diaz. “It originally started at the Wellness Center. We had a student who was a pre-health educator who had a focus on mental health, and the student basically started the club.
“We’ve brought on guest speakers from the national organization to present to the campus and raise awareness about mental health issues and also to reduce the stigma of mental health.”
Diaz has plans to expand the club and establish Active Minds’ presence on campus by continuing to host events and recruit students who have a background in mental health or who simply want to become more educated.
“Recently, what we did was released the club to the rest of the student body,” said Diaz. “This is the year that we are recruiting different students. The most important things for the development of the club are students’ support, attending events. If you want to go the extra step and become a member, you are more than welcome to do so.”
Courtesy Active Minds CPP
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