Good evening everybody! Today I wanted to write about my experience being one of the Presidents of Active Minds at SUNY Oswego. For those of you who do not know, Active Minds is a national organization whose goal is to reduce the stigma of mental illness and help people access the resources that they need.
I first joined Active Minds my second semester Freshman year. My roommate at the time was thinking about declaring her major as human development and had heard about a mental health club called Active Minds. I remember walking into the room being really nervous about joining a group in the middle of the semester but once I walked into the room I felt much better about my decision because everyone was so nice. I had attempted to join a different club with my roommate earlier in the semester but still a few weeks in and had a strange experience where I felt like I was intruding on a group of friends hanging out so I was very relieved that Active Minds felt nothing like this. One of the things that really drew me to Active Minds was how they were trying to get the word out on how common mental health issues are. I struggled with anxiety and depression throughout high school and did not know anyone in any of my classes going through the same things as me. Active Minds made me feel better by making it known how common mental illness really is, for crying out loud we give out buttons that say how common it is (1 in 4, meaning 1 in 4 people have a mental illness)!
My memories from Active Minds include participating in Send Silence Packing, which is a display of backpacks that represent the number of suicides on college campuses each year, “Get Scrambled” which was a stress reliever where we threw eggs with our stressors written on them at a tarp on the wall in front of Tyler Hall, as well as going to weekly meetings with a bunch of people who wanted to help people understand mental illness as much as I wanted to.
After a semester, I became secretary of Active Minds and started a twitter account for our chapter. I remember being happy to have been elected to this position because it meant that I could be more involved with the club. I went to every meeting and would send out meeting reminders before the meeting through our email list and on our twitter. I would also send out the meeting notes to members who could not make it to the meeting due to class or illness. Then at the end of my junior year, I was elected to take over for our former Co President who graduated and got the chance to run the meetings which I have been doing since then. I really liked the freedom to talk about whatever topics I wanted in the realm of Active Minds and I still do! Although it can get frustrating being President like when budgets don’t go through or when we do not get a good turn out at a meeting, knowing that I have the ability to make a difference on campus is something that I will always appreciate getting the opportunity to do.