Posted by Julia Martin
This semester, a chapter of Active Minds, a national organization that seeks to empower students to speak openly about mental health, has been granted a month-long trial period by the SGA Club Affairs Committee. The group, led by President Siena Tugendrajch '14 and Vice President Liz Estey '15, will host two campus-wide events during this trial period.
"I wanted to start an Active Minds chapter at Skidmore because of the lack of mental health literacy on our campus. Mental health literacy refers to the knowledge and recognition of mental health disorders that contribute to the management and prevention of these illnesses," Tugendrajch said.
The group's first event will be a panel discussion on Wednesday, Feb. 27, in Emerson Auditorium that will address various approaches to helping a friend struggling with mental illness as well as resources in the Skidmore Community for mental health issues. Members of the panel will include Skidmore students, a representative from the counseling center and a member of the psychology department with clinical experience.
"Mental illness is a much more commonly found issue than many people realize which creates shame around asking for help. I think the more information we are able to get out there, the easier it will be to help a large number of people," Estey said.
The chapter plans to host a second event during Eating Disorders Awareness Week (February. 24-March 2) that will aim to promote positive body image.
The group plans to work with other groups on campus as well as other chapters of Active Minds. "We look forward to collaborating with other clubs, especially during Social Justice Month this April, and with other Active Minds chapters at other schools," Tugendrajch said.
The goal of Active Minds is not only to raise awareness about mental health, but to encourage students who are struggling with mental health disorders to seek help. Through promoting education, the group hopes to help students and administrators identify the signs and symptoms of mental health disorders.
"Through campus-wide events and national programs, Active Minds aims to remove the stigma that surrounds mental health issues and create a comfortable environment for an open conversation about mental health issues on campuses nationwide," Tugendrajch said.
The group holds weekly meetings every Wednesday, at 7 pm, in Ladd 206. Further information can be found on the group's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/560490270628560/.