The student organization Active Minds celebrated National Day Without Stigma by hosting “stigma sucks” lobby tables at the Student Center on Oct. 10. Students who pledged to be a stigma fighter received a sucker.
Stigma is when “someone views you in a negative way because you have a distinguishing characteristic or personal trait that is thought to be, or actually is, a disadvantage (negative stereotype),” according to the Mayo Clinic. Sadly, negative attitudes and beliefs toward people with mental health conditions are common.
Active Minds work to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness on campus and in society in general.
“We also aim to promote a seek-help culture, encouraging open dialogue about mental health and increasing awareness about resources available to our community,” Pallas Schuster, EMU’s Active Minds Eboard secretary, said.
Every Tuesday, Active Minds meets from 8:30-9:30 p.m. in Room 350 of the Student Center. Even if students are unable to make it to meetings, Schuster encourages them to come to or volunteer at club events.
“They are still welcome to email us [at firstname.lastname@example.org] to be added to our email list to get updates about upcoming events and activities,,” she said. “[Or] find ways they may be able to volunteer or attend.”
Yoga has shown itself to be beneficial for physical health as well as mental health. It is known to be very therapeutic and gives a person an outlet to release stress. Active Minds are very aware of this fact. That’s why on the third Wednesday of every month, the club hosts Deep House Yoga at 8 p.m. in Room 320 of the Student Center.
The club will also be helping host Health Monologues on Dec. 10 in the Student Center auditorium from 6-9 p.m. Those interested in getting involved should contact the Active Minds email address.
Maddy Dooling, the president of EMU’s Active Minds, has been involved with the group since her second semester of freshman year.
Like Schuster, Dooling said she believes that having a group like Active Minds on campus is important.
“Everyone has mental health, so we are just doing our best to promote student well-being on EMU’s campus,” Dooling said.
Mental health literacy, or “the knowledge and beliefs about mental disorders which aid their recognition,” is one of Active Minds’ goals to promote on campus and beyond.
“I think that dialogue about mental health is the first step,” Schuster said. “It is key that we recognize that we all have mental health, and it is important for us to prioritize that.
By encouraging students to attend events, speak up about their experiences, ask for help when they need it and reflect on their own well-being, we are taking steps to increase EMU students’ knowledge about mental health.”
Dooling believes the best way to increase mental health literacy is to “host events that educate the community on the seriousness of mental health” and by “raising awareness and fighting the stigma surrounding mental health.”
To learn more about the Active Minds organization, visit activeminds.org. If you would like to make a donation to EMU’s Active Minds chapter to help support all the wonderful things the org does, visit tinyurl.com/y2m6vycr.