Active Minds Organization Making Strides for Mental Health in Memphis

Posted on April 1, 2014

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new_amBy Mark Farley

Active Minds is the nation’s only nonprofit organization dedicated to utilizing the student voice to raise mental health awareness among college students. The goal of Active Minds is to educate our fellow students about depression, mental illness, and mental health. We strive to reduce and dispel the harmful stigma surrounding mental illness; to provide a judgment-free atmosphere; and provide stress-relieving activities. The Active Minds at Rhodes College chapter received their charter in the fall of 2013. First and foremost, we want to affect change on campus and eventually, the greater Memphis community.

On October 7, 2013, we held our first program: National Day Without Stigma. The objective of National Day Without Stigma was to eliminate the shame and discrimination surrounding mental health disorders by creating communities of understanding, help seeking, and support. We aimed to dispel stigma and shame by drawing inspirational messages and mental health statistics and facts in chalk around campus. Over 60 messages spread from Buckman Hall to the Bryan Campus Life Center. Everything was out in the open for students to read. It drew positive feedback from students and the administration, which was encouraging for a student organization so new and without a budget.

Our second program was National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. In the past, other organizations at Rhodes sponsored this week, but there was something lacking. Many students did not know about NEDA Week, and this needed to change. With the help of the Rhodes College Counseling Center, NEDA Week came together and consisted of a fundraising walk, keynote speaker, a lecture by a professor, and a student panel.

The biggest event of NEDA Week was the walk. The walk was co-coordinated by Mark Farley (sophomore and president of Active Minds at Rhodes College) and Hailey Baker (senior at Houston High School). It brought together the Rhodes community and the city of Memphis, which made it very successful. It was the first eating disorders awareness walk in Memphis. Over 180 people walked in the event, including individuals from two treatment centers: Focus Treatment Center and The Transformation Center. We raised over $8000, which goes to NEDA and NEDA Network Members, to help fund awareness, prevention, and service and treatment programs. Since this walk was so successful, Active Minds will be hosting another walk next year for NEDA Week 2015.

Mark Farley is studying Religious Studies at Rhodes College and was the co-founder of the Active Minds Chapter at Rhodes College in Memphis. He can be reached at farmm-16@rhodes.edu.

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Posted in: Health