Active Minds, MUSG collaborate for mental health awareness


Graphic by Jenna Thompson

Marquette University Student Government and Active Minds are hosting a number of different events this week to raise awareness, offer support and abolish stigmas surrounding mental illness as part of Marquette’s Mental Health Awareness Week.

Active Minds is a national non-profit organization that raises awareness for mental illness.

“Active Minds at Marquette started nine years ago and has the same mission as the national chapter to stomp out stigma surrounding mental health and change the conversation surrounding it,” Michelle Frederick, president of Active Minds and a senior in the College of Business Administration, said in an email. “We are a mental health advocacy group that works closely with the counseling center.”

Nick Jenkins, a counselor and coordinator of mental health advocacy at the counseling center, said in an email that during this week, “students will have the opportunity to learn and engage in wellness and coping strategies as to decrease stress, learn how to have more balance in their lives, learn how to recognize and help someone with suicidal thoughts and hear stories from people who experience mental health concerns.”

Each day of the week has a different theme with coordinating events.

Active Minds will hosted a Wellness Day in the Alumni Memorial Union from 8 to 10 a.m., yesterday.  Today, Active Minds will partner with the student-athlete group SHAPE to show the BIG EAST video made about student-athletes and mental health. Wednesday’s focus is Sharing Stories, which includes a Monologue Night, a lighting ceremony in partnership with the student organization Colleges Against Cancer and the launch of MUSG’s You Are Not Alone campaign video. On Thursday, Sigma Phi Epsilon will host their stand up comedy show called Sig Ep Stands Up to raise money for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. For the final event of the week, Active Minds will partner with Late Night Marquette for a rock climbing event to raise awareness about the connection between mental and physical health.

“I strongly encourage students to attend any of the events over the course of the week,” Jenkins said. “We hope that by decreasing stigma, students are more open to seeking out support from others and are more open to addressing these concerns so that they don’t experience significant impairment.”

George Baldas, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences and a part of the You Are Not Alone campaign, said he thinks mental illness is an issue worth talking about.

“I think it’s extremely important and amazing that the school and MUSG are putting things like this together because the only way to solve an issue like this is to get people talking and understanding, and I feel that goes for all forms of prejudice,” Baldas said.

The Active Minds Facebook page has a list of all the events during Mental Health Awareness Week. The counseling center is available for students struggling with mental health and provides free services Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.