Active Minds Chapter Forming at OCC

Oct 18, 2021

Title III Advisor Ashley Bigard hopes to raise mental health awareness at Olney Central College by establishing an Active Minds chapter on campus.

Founded by Alison Malmon following her older brother Brian’s suicide in 2000, Active Minds is the nation’s premier nonprofit organization promoting mental health for young adults.

With more than 550 chapters in high schools and colleges nationwide, Active Minds is opening conversations about mental health and creating lasting change in the way mental health is talked about, cared for and valued in the United States. The organization is dedicated to saving lives and to building stronger families and communities.

Active Minds ties into the Appreciative Advising process, part of the IECC Title III Block Grant initiative to enhance academic advising. OCC Peer Coach Philip Henderson will be assisting in the chapter’s formation. Students interested in joining are invited to attend a meeting at 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 20 in Room 106.

“This was needed before, but after COVID it is even more important to address mental health issues,” Bigard said. “Active Minds is designed to get people talking about the issue, to destigmatize help-seeking and reassure people they are not alone.”

While one out of every five students lives with a mental health condition, many continue to suffer in silence. Sixty-seven percent of those ages 18-24 who experience anxiety and depression do not seek treatment. Currently, suicide is the second-leading cause of death for college students.

Active Minds wants others to know mental health conditions are treatable and suicide is preventable. Through education, research and advocacy, the student-led chapters encourage peers to network and seek help for mental health issues just as they would for a physical issue, without shame or silence.

Those efforts are making a difference. Research from a landmark study by the RAND Corporation confirms that Active Minds has a significant, positive impact on student health and well-being by creating a supportive climate for mental health on college campuses.

According to the study, as students become more involved with Active Minds, they are more likely to reach out to a classmate or friend who is struggling with a mental health issue such as depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts.

For more information about Active Minds, contact Bigard at 618-395-7777, ext. 2005.