Mental Health is Not Scary

Courtesy of Katie Van Lew


By Katie Van Lew

Active Minds, the official Mental Health Awareness Club at the Catholic University, hosted an event in the Pryzbyla Center, “Nothing Scary About Mental Health,” on Monday. During the event, students were able to paint pumpkins, listen to Halloween music, and enjoy treats in celebration of Halloween. Active Minds is an organization on campus that promotes mental health education by hosting events for students to actively participate in an effort to inspire a positive perspective on mental health.     

Active Minds, established in 2017, advocates for the discussion and acceptance of mental health on the Catholic University campus. The organization values the discussion of mental health, and believes that mental health is a discussion that all students should be comfortable having. Active Minds works to create events that students can enjoy and participate in to unwind from the pressures of academics. 

A 2018 survey conducted by the American College Health Association estimated that three out of five students suffer from anxiety, and two out of five students are too depressed to perform daily activities. College organizations, such as Active Minds, work diligently to create a sense of normalcy regarding the topic of mental health. Active Minds hosts events to open the discussion as well as to provide an outlet for students to decrease stress. 

The objective of Active Minds is to destigmatize mental health among college students. The organization holds monthly meetings, as a way to figure out which events the group should host to raise awareness of the importance of mental health. Monthly meetings are open to all students. By attending the Active Minds meetings, students are able to give feedback and suggest ideas for future events. The organization holds both small and large-scale events for students to participate in. Last week, the Active Minds Group hosted a self care event for students to indulge in amidst midterms stress. 

This Saturday, November 2nd, Active Minds will be holding a large scale event by participating in the annual suicide prevention walk in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. Check-in for the event begins at 2pm while the walk starts at 4pm. 

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention hosts the Out of the Darkness walks every year across the United States in order to provide services and support to communities across the nation. The organization works to raise awareness and give support to those affected by suicide. Walkers and teams show their support by raising money and walking for the cause.  Since the small beginnings of 2004, the movement has grown from 4,000 walkers annually to amassing to over 350,000 walkers annually, with over 400 community walking events. Currently, the event has 1,955 participants, as well as donations of about $263,747.77 raised for the Out of the Darkness campaign. 

These donations are used to fund research for suicide prevention, create and distribute education programs, advocate for public policy, and support survivors of suicide loss. To register or donate to a walker, visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website. If you are interested in joining Active Minds, students are able to join by signing up through The Nest or emailing cuaactiveminds@gmail.com

If students are unable to attend large scale events, Active Minds insures that students are able to partake in events on campus such as self care days, or seasonal activities such as painting pumpkins. Active Minds works to alleviate the pressures that correspond with university life, whether it be the pressure of succeeding in academic endeavours or competing in a sport. The organization hosts monthly events to allow students to cope with stress in fun and healthy ways.

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