Mercyhurst College welcomed back Alison Malmon, the founder and executive director of Active Minds, on Thursday, Oct. 1.
Active Minds is a group dedicated to raising awareness about mental health and changing the stigma of what mental health is.
Malmon’s older brother suffered from depression and schizophrenia. He quit school and took his own life because help came too late.
This event inspired Malmon to create Active Minds at her college, Penn State. Since then, Active Minds has grown into a non-profit organization with 216 chapters at colleges and universities throughout the United States, Canada and Australia.
Active Minds holds events to raise awareness, helps eliminate stress, attempts to lower the rate of suicide among college students and helps with other problems like eating disorders.
“Active Minds wants students to stand up and speak out,” Malmon said.
Freshman Samantha Hartman said, “Alison brought up some great points and she really helped us all to think about mental health. Mercyhurst and other colleges should be bringing up these issues because they affect our friends, peers, roommates and even ourselves.”
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among college students, and every 18 minutes someone takes his or her own life, Malmon said.
“This is why we need to change the stigma, change the way we look at and speak about mental heath,” she said.
Mercyhurst’s chapter of Active Minds, led by president Nicole Hanks, has been doing its part to help make these statistics decrease.
Stomp Out Stigma was an Active Minds event held Oct. 1 which allowed students to de-stress from mid-terms by stomping on bubble wrap.
“Active Minds aims to remove the stigma that surrounds mental health issues and create a comfortable environment for an open conversation about mental health issues on campus,” Hanks said.
Active Minds events are held right on campus for all Mercyhurst students to have better mental health.
“We may not all have a mental illness, but we all have mental health,” Malmon said.
“I have been a member of the group here on campus since last year and even though I am not as active in the group, I feel it is an important and good cause,” senior Stacey Richardson said. “I always knew about the events on campus, but I didn’t know much about the founder or the history of the group. I think it was a great opportunity to have Alison Malmon here and get some information on what we can do to help.”
For more information about Active Minds and its events, or if interested in joining the group, contact Nicole Hanks at email@example.com.