UCO Welcomes New Mental Health Advocacy Group
Active Minds is a nationwide mental health advocacy group. The organization uses their University chapters to inform students on stigmas surrounding mental health, and educate them on how to move past them. (Photo provided by activeminds.org)
During the upcoming Fall 2016 semester, The University of Central Oklahoma will launch a chapter of Active Minds, an advocacy group that strives to reduce stigma surrounding mental illness by raising awareness through education.
Active Minds, a national organization, not only educates college-aged students on issues of mental health, but it also operates as an ally to struggling students, Chapter President Alyssa Compton explained. She noted that this is the first university chapter in Oklahoma.
Compton said the idea to bring Active Minds to UCO occurred after she attended a leadership conference last fall.
“I was inspired to find a way to create change on campus,” Compton said.
She and co-founder Bree Clark then decided to introduce the chapter at UCO.
— Active Minds, Inc. (@Active_Minds) June 6, 2016
The two began the organization process in January. Work continued throughout the spring, with five active members by the end of the semester.
“It felt like forever, but we are so glad to finally be up and running,” Compton said.
Compton mentioned they hope to work with other mental health advocates on campus, including Peer Health Leaders, To Write Love on Her Arms University Chapter and the UCO Counseling Center.
They have scheduled event collaborations with Peer Health Leaders, such as open-mic nights in October, where they plan to distribute self-care kits to students in attendance.
Other plans Compton has for the organization include bringing attention to the counseling center, teaching freshman about mental health and self-care and educating students on how to take care of themselves from the start of their college career.
“We hope to bring a positive environment to promote education as well as positive attitudes toward talking about mental illness,” Compton said. “We want to empower students to know how to seek help, help a friend or just know when it is time to take a moment and breathe.”
Compton said any student who would like to join the Active Minds chapter can add the group on the campus engagement website OrgSync, visit the organization’s table at the Student Involvement Fair scheduled for the fall semester or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Christy Vincent, member of Healthy Campus and Organizational Communications professor at UCO, will serve as the sponsor of the group.