By: ASHLEY FOOR
There is a new opportunity out there for students who want to make a difference in their school and community.
The Student Counseling Center at IU South Bend has recently been awarded a Chancellor’s 2020 grant, which will fund the startup of an Active Minds chapter on campus.
Active Minds is a national organization that brings awareness to mental health. Their goal will be to diminish the stigma associated with mental health, so that people feel more comfortable coming to others for help.
So far, there are 442 chapters all over the country. It was started by family members of people who were dealing with mental anguish and has since grown to be a national, student-led organization.
Dr. Kevin Griffith, Director of Student Counseling, will be acting as an advisor to Active Minds on campus.
“At this point, we are in our infancy,” Griffith said. “We’re just now starting to try and get student interest determined, but once there’s a core group of student leaders, our hope would be to help facilitate that group to be recognized as a campus student group. That will probably take about a year. The grant is for a one year period, to help us get to that point.”
Once they are able to form an officially recognized campus group, they will be able to organize their own events, fundraisers, book clubs or whatever else they would like to focus on.
Since this is a student led group, it will be up to them how they want to define themselves. A potential mission they could adopt would be to advocate for mental health. They could provide students with information about different mental health issues and resources within the community.
Typically, Active Minds is not a traditional support group; they are beyond that. The students hope to create a safe place for others to go to talk about mental health and to let others know that it is okay to live with a mental illness.
Think of this as a place you will be able to go when you don’t feel comfortable talking to those close to you about your mental health problems. There are times when you need someone not close to you or your situation to hear your problems. Active Minds may have different avenues for help than anyone else.
Dr. Griffith hopes that Active Minds will attract students, with or without mental health issues, who are looking to get engaged, that are looking for leadership opportunities and want to be involved in the inaugural aspect of the program.
“The main emphasis is really defining how we as a campus can promote a culture of conversation, that IU South Bend is a safe place for students to talk about living with mental illness and how we can help students celebrate who they are without feeling stigma or shame or guilt. And hopefully from that context, make the college experience that much more meaningful to people,” said Griffith.
Griffith and the Student Counseling Center were very appreciative of winning the Chancellor’s 2020 grand and would like to thank Housing and Residence Life for their support of the upcoming Active Minds chapter, Griffith said.