Friday, November 18, 2011
Active Minds National Conference- Changing the Conversation about Mental Health
This weekend I will be speaking on the University of Maryland campus during the national Active Minds conference. I am deeply honored by the invitation to share information about my work in mental health, especially as it relates to policy. We all play an active role in changing the way society views and talks about mental health and the key to ridding the stigma on mental illness starts by educating others, so what better place to host this event than on a college campus! Active Minds is an amazing non-profit, which focuses on mental health issues affecting college students. This organization is spearheaded by Allison Malmon, who lost her brother to suicide, while he was in school. After graduating from college she started this program geared specifically towards college students. She truly is an amazing advocate for mental health and has taken an active role on a personal issue, so that others may never know what it is like to lose someone they love to suicide. Most importantly, her organization educates students about what to do if they need help. Active Minds has been incorporated throughout campuses across the country, and impacting lives for the better.
Active Minds highlights the many struggles and issues that college students face. With statistics showing that suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death, something must be done to educate students, faculty, and staff. While college can be an exciting and new experience, it also can be overwhelming at times. The stress factors of grades, balancing class schedules, cost of tuition,relationships, work, social events, and so on are all things that students deal with on a daily basis. The transition from home life to one of total independence creates an array of choices that ultimately impacts school and personal life. This is why access to mental health resources on campus is so important on a personal and academic level. How can someone succeed, if they aren't feeling well? In an atmosphere of knowledge and understanding it only makes sense for organizations like Active Minds to exist. As Socrates said, "knowledge is power." In this case, what you know could possibly save your life or that of another.