active minds

Active Minds is a recently formed organization on campus which seeks to promote mental health. As a student-run group, Active Minds was officially recognized by the Student Senate on Nov. 5. It’s run by co-presidents and freshman nursing majors Lilly Manke and Anhjee Lowden.

Although the group has a number of goals in mind concerning future events and outreach to the campus community, ultimately they’re oriented towards dealing with the negative connotation around mental health.

“Active Minds is about breaking the stigma of the negative connotation with mental health, and it's also to raise awareness about suicide prevention,” Lowden said. 

Active Minds hopes to help and appeal to both Valpo students and to the larger community. According to Manke and Lowden, they understand that college is an especially difficult time for students, and how it can be difficult to adjust to life away from home. 

In Manke’s words, it’s “hard to learn how to ‘adult’ right now.”

In addition to helping individuals, Active Minds is looking to make an impact on campus in other ways, such as creating cards for the back of IDs that contain information for suicide hotlines and on-campus resources such as the health center. They are also considering holding events around stressful times like finals. This might include stress balls, or an activity called ‘write a compliment, take a compliment,” to help students through the busy time. 

Even if the Active Minds influence begins on Valpo’s campus, they hope to gain a further reach. 

“I think also the demographics [is] how I said we're trying to shoot for everyone,” Lowden said. “But even if we start small at Campus it could definitely venture out. So say like, one person who's in Active Minds is dealing with someone at home who deals with mental health, then they can help them and then it's like kind of like a domino effect.”

Because Valpo’s Active Minds is a chapter of a national organization, they are considering inviting speakers from the organization’s website to share their experiences. For example, one speaker listed is an officer who was posted on the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge to talk people out of attempting suicide. 

Manke and Lowden describe the club as somewhat informal, so that if students are busy it’s okay not to make it to a meeting, but that they might also come when they need to. The two are considering events in the winter to write letters to people who need help, such as children in the hospital, or for more fun activities like cookie decorating to de-stress and get their name out.

“I think mental health is a really big thing that not a lot of people talk about,” Manke said. “And I think it should be talked about just because I've experienced so many people dealing with it in different ways. And... it's like your physical health.”

According to Manke, students who are uncertain about joining should know that the group is open and non-judgemental. 

“Even if you're on the fence about coming to a meeting, it's very open. Everyone in the meeting is not judgmental or anything,” Manke said. “It's just here for everybody to be open and stuff, and you can meet some good people. So even if you're on the fence about coming you can come for 10 minutes to a meeting and just see if you want to be a part of the group.”

For more information on Active Minds, contact them at activeminds@valpo.edu or follow their Instagram @valpoactiveminds. 

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