By Sasha Dudock
Last Wednesday, Active Minds put on the event Create Your Own Coping Toolbox where students were invited to make and paint personalized recovery tool boxes.
The recovery toolboxes contained coloring pages, stress balls, tea, chocolate, mini notebooks, crayons and other relaxing items.
Active Minds, the sponsor of the event, “is an organization that works to spread mental health awareness and to fight the stigma on mental illnesses,” says organization president Mandy Menosky (‘18).
“The goal [of Active Minds] is to break the stigma on mental illness and to allow people to feel comfortable with themselves and sharing their stories.”
Active Minds has done many events on campus this year prior to Create Your Own Coping Toolbox.
It put on Cupcakes for a Cause and Suicide Prevention week that included the Field of Flags, depression screening and Question, Persuade, Refer suicide prevenion training, as well as having speaker Alison Malmon, the founder of Active Minds, make a visit to campus.
“Create Your Own Coping Toolbox was our most successful event . . . we got a lot of positive feedback.” added Menosky.
“It was so successful that we are going to be doing it again in April before finals.”
Students also felt that recovery toolbox building was a success.
“I thought this event was awesome. Not only did it promote mental well-being, but it was also a great opportunity to get together with a group of people and have fun,” said attendee Julia Ettema (‘21).
Some students even felt that programs like these should be more commonplace around campus.
“I thought it was a fun experience and I enjoyed meeting new people.” said Rebecca Fredenburg (‘21). I think the campus should do more events like this and open them up to more people,”
Active Minds is putting on more events later this year, next being the screening of a movie relating to eating disorders on Feb. 20. Later in April it will sell butterfly tattoos to provide awareness and support to self-harm survivors.
There are many resources on campus that promote and restore mental well-being, the best being the Counseling and Wellness center.
Students can make appointments and talk to professionals in a safe environment for free.
Confidentiality is maintained and visiting the Counseling and Wellness Center does not hurt a student’s academic profile in any way.
The Counseling and Wellness center works in tandem with Active Minds to provide resources on various different mental illnesses and coping methods that are always available to students and the community.
Another less formal way to relieve stress and meet new people is to visit the therapy dogs and cats that come to campus once a month, courtesy of the Counseling and Wellness Center.
With midterms quickly approaching, stress is at an all-time high and staying mentally healthy can be challenging.
There are many simple ways to combat stress on campus without taking up too much study time.
Buying a hot chocolate from Highland Java, going on a walk on the community trail or playing card games with a group of friends can all help with mental health.
“We want everyone to be educated and to feel like they are able to talk about their mental illness and what they are going through.” said Menosky.
We want people to start the conversation about mental health and stop feeling shame,” said Menosky.