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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Reflections - 2013 Active Minds Mental Health on Campus Conference

As the year comes to an end, I am reflecting on some of wonderful events Valenrich Wellness participated in during 2013. One such event was the Active Minds Mental Health on Campus Conference in Washington, DC.  Below are some insights from conference participants as well as Alison Malmon, Founder and Executive Director of Active Minds.

Q&A with Alison Malmon, Founder and Executive Director

What are your thoughts on the conference this year?

I am energized, inspired and continue to be amazed by all of the students and advisors who are a part of the Active Minds network.  This is our 10th anniversary conference.  It’s an incredible celebration for us.  Time and time again, I’m more and more impressed by everyone who is a part of the Active Minds network.  I’m just thrilled and honored to have so many awesome people be a part of Active Minds. 

How does Active Minds fulfill their commitment to diversity? 

We are an organization that is committed to representing and being inclusive of everybody and anybody, regardless of who you are.  We are inherently an organization that is essentially fighting for the underdog; fighting for a cause and group of people who are traditionally not included in mainstream society.  And so we take our approach to mental health and we apply it to whatever your background; whether it be socioeconomic, racial, gender identity, or sexual orientation.  Our whole mission is to create a society and environment where people feel accepted, appreciated and get the support that they need for whatever reason they need it. 

What are some of your key initiatives for the upcoming year?

We are celebrating our 10th anniversary year right now so we’ve been able to look to the next decade.  We will continue to enjoy chapter growth.  We expect that we will build our chapter network even beyond the 435 chapter that we have right now.  We are embarking on a ‘Send Silence Packing’ suicide awareness tour this spring and will be expanding our speaker’s bureau.  We’re also rolling out some institutional change campaign programming for our chapters to achieve long term institutional change on their campus.

 Participant Reflections

I feel like I’ve really benefited from the conference.  I feel more empowered to kind of 
change the world in a way.    It’s been a great experience.  
- Sandy,  Worcester State University

There’s been a lot of great conversations about how to create change on different.  I know that a lot of people have taken some great ideas away from this conference.  It’s real exciting.
- Emily, Bard College 

I was really impressed by all of the enthusiasm that a lot of students showed during all of the pre-conference leadership workshops as well as the conference workshops.  I saw a lot of enthusiasm and passion that a lot of first time and returning attendees have shown.  It’s really given me a lot of hope for what will happen in the next 10 years with Active Minds.
- Russell,  Illinois Institute of Technology

I think it’s a great conference. I’m learning a lot. I’m really learning that it’s important to tell your story and let people know that they’re not alone and that we’re all in this to support each other.  
- Kizmit, Kennesaw State University 

Just being able to talk to other active minds clubs and learn what they’re doing to communicate with the students on their campuses. That has been really wonderful and being able to bounce ideas off of each other has been an awesome experience.
- Amanda, Kennesaw State University

We’re a new chapter; just a little bit over a year old.  So, this has been cool because we’ve been trying to incorporate the Active Minds culture at Kennesaw State. 
 Now we know what it looks like to have a lot of members.
- Ken, Kennesaw State University

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