Active Minds hosts event supporting veterans through letter writing

Students making cards for veterans, set up by Active Minds at the SUB. Mireya Sol Ruiz | Multimedia Journalist

By Mckenzie Oviatt | Reporter

In honor of Veteran’s Day earlier this week, Active Minds hosted an event on Wednesday in the Bill Daniel Student Center to support veterans during the holiday season. Members of the Baylor Active Minds organization set up markers and card stock for students to write letters to veterans.

Active Minds is a nationwide organization that works to change the conversation regarding mental health. With over 500 chapters across college campuses, they each work to put on awareness events and supportive efforts for students.

Joplin, Mo., junior Jonathan Barnes has been in the organization since his freshman year, and said that it is important to aid veterans with taking care of their mental health.

“Writing letters to veterans is along the same lines with what we want to do as an organization, because they are going through stuff that I wouldn’t even dream of having to go through. With mental health, especially something as simple as letting someone know that we care about you and appreciate you can go a long way,” Barnes said.

This event highlighted and honored veterans; however, Barnes also said that he thinks everyone can benefit from practicing to improve their mental health.

“I think mental health is something that isn’t really pushed as much as it should be. I find that it is a great way to reach out and try to make a change. Obviously I can’t go out and treat people right now, but hopefully I can still do something about it now,” Barnes said.

Plano sophomore Ritu Bhatt, another member of Active Minds, joined her freshman year and is now an officer of the club this school year. In her role, she works with community outreach and gathers other organizations to partner with Active Minds. She also partakes in work regarding music and memory that helps people who have Alzheimer’s Disease. Throughout the year, she said the group works with the Baylor Counseling Center, bringing in speakers and helping collaborate with the events that they host.

“When we think about it, when we go through our day, we don’t realize how our day-to-day activities affect our mind and how our mind affects our bodies. I want to help break the stigma with mental health,” Bhatt said.

Spring junior Iliana Trevino has been a member of Active Minds for two and a half years. She is a psychology major and said that this organization is a safe place to talk about mental health and how it ties into the challenges that college students face.

“We have a lot of de-stress activities for members and others. During finals, we especially help with mental health awareness. For Halloween we gave out affirmations. It’s a nice thing to receive when you are studying and stressed out,” Trevino said.

During the holidays, Trevino said Active Minds works on hosting more events since it can be a lonely and stressful time for students.

Colombia junior Daniela Olay is a psychology major who joined the organization this year, and said she thought the letter writing was a great event in light of Veteran’s Day.

“It was great timing. We want them to know they are appreciated and that we care. We are all about promoting mental health and being nice to one another and working on your own well-being,” Olay said.