Active Minds brings awareness to suicide and depression

Active+Minds+brings+awareness+to+suicide+and+depression

Salwa Khan

by Rebeca Reyes, Staff Writer

Active Minds, a non-profit organization created in 2003 by Penn State student Alison Malmon, promoted the National Day Without Stigma at San Diego State  on Oct. 3.

Active Minds’ goal is to bring awareness to mental health issues and the stigma surrounding the topics related to it in order to help everyone in need.

Sara Treptow, a senior psychology major, has been this chapter’s president for two years.  

“It wasn’t until I got involved in Active Minds my sophomore year that I really felt like I’ve found my home on campus,” Treptow said. “It is a group of really passionate, kind people with just the biggest hearts. Everyone is just focused on raising awareness about mental health and It’s been one of the best parts of my college experience.”

She said through Active Minds she has heard a lot of people’s mental health stories and their journey to recovery.

“I think that hearing these stories of strength, and resiliency and advocacy are going to help me in my career one day,” Treptow said.

Treptow hopes more students reach out to resources on campus, since untreated mental illness is the leading cause of suicide and the second cause of death in college students with 1,100 college students dead by suicide last year.

“We believe that the best way to combat stigma is by raising awareness,” Treptow said. “So we like to say that we replace ignorance with knowledge by bringing awareness of this different health issues students become educated on the resources  that they would need to help a friend or help themselves.”

One major resource for students battling with this is the counseling center on campus.

Diana Bull a psychologist at the center, has been helping students for four years.

The counseling center offers individual therapy, group therapy and some workshops that are free to all SDSU students, according to Bull.

Students can call in to the counseling center and have a phone consultation with a therapist and share any concern or situation they are going through.

“We’re focused on reducing the stigma around mental health and also increasing awareness and prevention about suicide,” Bull said. ”That’s actually when this event came to light, allowing students the opportunity here at SDSU to know that we are a community, we are here to support each other.”

‘Light at the Centennial’ event commemorated those who have died by suicide and encouraged students to share positive messages to everyone out there who may suffer depression or know someone going through depression.

“What we are seeing on a national level is that a lot of students are struggling with anxiety, and SDSU is no different,” Bull said. “We are absolutely seeing that here depression is also on the rise.”

Throughout the semester there will be more events to help students, like one focused on body image and another on stress where Baxter, a therapy dog, helps students relax and reduce their stress.

Events like the night to end stigma are appreciated by students going through depression.

“As someone with depression, myself I think that is really important to raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention is really important,” rhetoric and writing studies major graduate student, Brenda Lopez  said.

Lopez said a few of her family members also struggle with depression, which is why she thinks it is important for her to be a part of a group like this.

“I think it’s really cool seeing that, visibility is really important so people who maybe are afraid to talk about it and see something like this, would just help support them even if they don’t know they need support at the moment,” Lopez said.

 

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