Active Minds, a national club with a chapter on the Brandeis campus, is hard at work raising awareness and combating stigmas surrounding the topic of mental illness.
The vice president of Brandeis’ chapter, Frankie Marchan ’19, said that while mental health has become more publicized, she believes that it “needs more education,” because “mental health affects everyone.”
Since the Brandeis chapter of Active Minds began in the spring of 2015, the club has held many different types of events for students. Every Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the Shapiro Campus Center (SCC) there are discussion-based meetings to talk about relevant issues and to further educate students. The club hosted a Mental Health Awareness Day in January of 2016 during which they set up a table with flyers and posters, giving information to any students who were passing by in the SCC.
The club of about 30 members also hosts story sharing events called “Step Inside My Head,” where any student can safely share their personal experiences. Other memorable events include “de-stressing” events where students can use coloring books or pop bubble wrap, which Marchan says is always popular.
Active Minds also partners with other clubs and organizations on campus, including the Brandeis Counseling Center (BCC) to communicate with the campus. A few weeks ago, Active Minds and the BCC hosted a “Self Check Day” in which students could grab snacks, write on Post-it notes and check in with club members about how their semester was going. This past Monday, April 24, the group held “Fresh Check Day” with the BCC to learn about resources and stress-coping tactics.
Marchan said that she joined Active Minds because from her personal experience and her friends’ experiences, she thinks that “it’s important to talk about mental health, the positives and the negatives” and also to spread the club’s message and make discussion of mental health more visible on campus.