Active Minds educates Baylor students on mental health

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By Luke Araujo | Staff Writer

Active Minds at Baylor is a group that describes itself as a place “in which students educate other students about mental health disorders by hosting different activities on campus.”

The student organization is a part of a national organization, Active Minds, which looks to weaken the stigma surrounding mental health issues and to encourage those suffering from these issues to seek help.

Each month, Active Minds focuses its events on different areas of mental health. In February, the organization is focused on covering eating disorders. Next month, Active Minds will set its sights on bipolar disorder.

Plano senior Ritu Bhatt, president of Active Minds at Baylor, said the primary goal of the organization is to bring information to members and campus about what different mental health experiences consist of.

“After our meetings, we’ll engage in activities like cultivating safety plans,” Bhatt said. “If I’m having a rough time having a rough time, this addresses who I can contact, what resources are near me or self-care tips I can use to feel better about things.”

To spread mental health awareness, Active Minds works in close collaboration with the Baylor Counseling Center.

“We promote their new telehealth initiative and make students aware that there are always resources for them,” Bhatt said. “Other than that, we do a suicide awareness event in the fall to bring light to the heavy topic of people who lose their lives in college. It’s a very real issue.”

Later in February, Active Minds will be collaborating with the Baylor Counseling Center to host a “Hope Peace Love” event.

“We have a booth we’re setting up,” Bhatt said. “We have had members create little carnations that we’re going to give out with affirmations on them.”

Outside special events, Bhatt said the organization hosts member meetings every two weeks with some flexibility.

“Sometimes it falls into meetings a month; sometimes it’s one if we have Spring Break or something like that,” Bhatt said. “Within those meetings, which are usually an hour long, we’ll have an informative part of the meeting, and the rest of the meeting will be an activity of some sort.”

Active Minds runs everything it does through Dr. Kallie Kobold and Dr. Esther Hooley to ensure that the language the organization uses is sensitive to individuals who may be struggling with mental health.

“They will always give us notes, pointing out if the wording of something can be more compassionate or if something may be triggering to some people,” Bhatt said. “We try our hardest to make sure we’re talking to and communicating with our advisers as well as the Counseling Center to make sure we’re being smart and efficient with the information we are bringing forth.”

Hollywood sophomore Madison Pyles, community outreach officer of Active Minds at Baylor, said the organization is putting a new degree of emphasis on specific aspects of mental health this semester.

“There are language choices that may be something you wouldn’t think would be harmful for someone’s well-being but actually are,” Pyles said. “We are also going to focus more on different careers for people that are interested in mental health, on top of supplying different resources, such as Baylor’s Academic Live Care, that you can go to and seek help.”

Pyles said the organization strives to be light on requirements for its members, not requiring any specific amount of attendance or participation to stay in the organization. Instead, members are awarded points for participation, which contribute to an individual’s rank.

“It’s kind of ‘do what you can,’” Pyles said. “If that means coming to one meeting the whole semester, that’s fine. Do what you must to take care of yourself but know that we are here as well.”

Active Minds is open to any new members who are willing to engage in the mental health community, Pyles said.

“We are great if you really want to have a biweekly activity to destress or are interested in learning about the mental health community,” Pyles said. “If you are into self-care, we are the place to be.”