OXFORD, Miss- This past week, (April 3-7th) the Associated Student Body (ASB) partnered with the student led group Active Minds on campus for a Mental Health Awareness week. Active Minds is a student run group here that lets people speak out and openly about mental health and to educate others.
The non-profit organization was started in 2003 after Allison Malmon, a freshman in college at the University of Pennsylvania experienced suicide first hand. Her brother Brian, committed suicide. Brian had developed depression and psychosis and during his senior year of college he returned home to seek treatment. After returning home Brian was dignosed with schizoaffective disorder and less then 2 years later he committed suicide. In response to her brothers suicide, during her junior year of college Allison started the Alpha chapter of Active Minds at Upenn.
In the summer of 2003 Active Minds established their headquarters in Washington D.C., now 17 years later and there are 444 chapters at college campuses around the country.
Kathryn Forbes, president of Ole Miss' chapter, helped plan the week and its events that went on during it. "After struggling with anxiety and depression in college, I became open about my story and found that so many other students have similar daily battles," said Forbes. https://www.facebook.com/olemissasb/videos/1369856329745620/
Starting off on Monday morning, the organization had puppies from the Oxford-Lafayette Humane society on business row in an event they called "Pet a Puppy". From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. you could hold a puppy.
Sophomore Blair Wortsmith stopped by the event and thought it was a great idea. "I loved the idea of bringing puppies to campus! It was a stressful Monday and it brightened my day getting to hold one on the way to class," Wortsmith said.
On Tuesday, the organization had free yoga on the Grove stage to educate people by using meditation as a way to deal and live with anxiety. Following that at 6pm they had a student athletic panel where student athletes could talk about their experience with mental illness.
On Wednesday, also in the Grove Active Minds had an event called "SMASH the scale". The event basically speaks for itself. People could take a hammer to a scale. Whether to take out anger, to let go of past thoughts or to help you realize you're beautiful no matter what number the scale says.