What is Active Minds? Active Mind is a non-profit organization headquartered in Washington, DC whose purpose is to develop and support chapters(UC Davis is one of the chapters!) of a student mental health awareness group on college campuses across North America.
Background Information College students are at high risk for developing mental health disorders as many emerge during the college years. Students may feel vulnerable when developing problems with their mental health. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that one in five Americans eighteen years and older suffer from diagnosable mental health disorder in any given year. Despite this high prevalence, issues of mental health and mental illness are not often discussed on college campuses, so those who suffer often feel alone and don't realize that they are experiencing treatable symptoms of real, common, disorders—and that there is hope. Students often suffer in silence during what is supposed to be the best time of their lives, and too many fall victim to their illnesses. The threat and rate of student suicide on campus is tremendous: suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among 18-24 year olds, and the 2nd leading cause of death for college students alone.
What does Active Minds at UC Davis Chapter do? Currently, there are only limited resources available to students dealing with mental illness at Davis, whether they live with one themselves or have family members or friends that do. These resources are time-limited for those individuals who are in an immediate and severe mental health crisis but prevention of mental health crises, outreach, advocacy, and ongoing support are needed.
The aim of the group is to raise awareness of mental health and break down the stigma of mental illness. Many people are uneducated about mental illness and have misconceptions as to what a person with mental illness looks and acts like. Ultimately the goal of the group is to deconstruct those unfair, ignorant stereotypes.
Active Minds is not a support group, but an advocacy group—however, part of the aim of the chapter is going to be challenging the campus to provide a support group for students dealing with mental illness.
It's time to stop being silent. Together, we can make mental health a bigger priority.
National Mental Health Awareness Campaign: www.nostigma.org
Mental Health America: www.nmha.org
The Jed Foundation: www.jedfoundation.org
National Institutes of Mental Health: www.nimh.nih.gov/
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: www.afsp.org
Crisis Hotline - Suicide Prevention Service of the Central Coast: Davis (530) 756-5000; Woodland (530) 666-7778; West Sacramento (916) 372-6565