By Maddie Gee | Reporter
From using flags to remember a college student who has committed suicide around campus to hosting “Puppy Play Dates,” the mental health club “Active Minds” is actively reaching out to students on campus to show that their mental health is just as important as their physical health.
According to the National Association on Mental Illness, “75 percent of lifetime cases of mental health conditions begin by age 24” and “one in four young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 have a diagnosable mental illness.”
Instead of going to get help from the Counseling Center or even just turning to a friend, many stay silent. “Active Minds” is trying to change that.
“We are one chapter of a national organization that is committed to reducing the stigma around mental health illnesses and opening a conversation about mental health on college campuses, specifically at Baylor,” Chicago senior Madeline Quenan said.
“I think it is difficult to gauge sometimes how good or bad the mental health awareness and support can be on campus because it is so much more secretive than physical illnesses,” Austin senior Lexi Rima said. “I think that the reducing stigma part of ‘Active Minds’ is probably the most important aspect of our mission. I want to see it become easier to talk about these type of things for those suffering with mental illnesses and for those who have no idea about mental illnesses and may have misconceptions that they may be scary, common or even fashionable.”
“We don’t hesitate when we say depression, suicide. I think that it is very important to say the words like normal words and to not be afraid of them. I think that is the biggest component of what we do,” Quenan said. “We are trying to think of fun ways to get the information to people and fun ways to think about it, so it is not so scary to talk about mental illnesses and mental health. I do anticipate us partnering with a lot more organizations on campus, specifically minority organizations, which Quenan says she looks forward to.
“We know that stigmas in minorities around mental health are so much greater than in the white population,” Quenan said. “We would also like to work with the veterans club.”
“Active Minds” is working to make sure that those hurting in silence no longer have to.
Their first interest meeting is from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday in the D114 Baylor Sciences Building.
Baylor Counseling Center/Crisis Line: 254-710-2467
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255