March 19, 2015 — In its fifth official year, Oregon State University’s Active Minds continues to create opportunities for open conversations on the subject of mental health. The only peer-to-peer organization devoted to mental health awareness among college students, Active Minds is on more than 100 campuses nationwide.
Working closely with Counseling and Psychological Services, OSU’s Active Minds provides resources for students experiencing difficulties throughout college and encourages students to seek help if needed.
“The main goal of Active Minds is to erase the stigma surrounding mental illness by promoting conversation about mental health and educating students about mental problems, along with (the) resources available to them” says Rikki Redhead, a psychology student and the secretary of Active Minds at OSU.
Completely student-run, Oregon State’s Active Minds holds multiple campus events throughout the academic year to promote awareness. These events include National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, and The Daisy Project, where 1,100 daisies are placed in the MU quad as a memorial for the lives lost to suicide on college campuses each year.
The group recently organized the Love is Louder event, which takes place annually on Valentine’s Day. Started by the JED Foundation and actress Brittany Snow as an anti-bullying campaign, OSU Active Minds spread the movement by inviting students in the Memorial Union Quad to write what they believe love can overcome on the palms of their hands.
“We’re trying to spread the message that even though life can be tough, love is always stronger,” Redhead says.
This year, the group is also working with Linus Pauling Middle School to help create an organization similar to Active Minds.
“We got this idea after several eighth-grade students attended a suicide awareness walk for Corvallis and expressed their concerns about suicide and the desire to do something about it in their school,” Redhead says. “So far, we’ve met with a group of around 80 eighth-grade students, and they’re so excited.”
Active Minds at OSU welcomes anyone to attend their meetings or events. If students are interested but don’t have much free time, Redhead advises not to worry. “If someone would like to be a part of Active Minds, their amount of involvement is completely up to them. Meetings … are not mandatory. In addition, helping at our events is volunteer only … we’re totally happy with any amount of commitment that someone is willing to give.”