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    Active Minds club puts on weeklong Mental Health Awareness events

    UA Active Minds
    A view of a display by UA Active Minds about suicide awareness on college campuses. This week is Mental Health Awareness week at the UA.

    The UA Active Minds chapter will host its first-ever Mental Health Awareness Week that started on Monday and continues throughout the week until Friday.

    The club, which seeks to change campus’ conversation regarding mental health, as well as reduce the stigma behind mental illness, will use this week to inform students on campus about the reality of mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, bipolar disorder and others.

    By engaging in different activities designed by participating clubs and other organizations on campus, the UA Active Minds chapter hopes to generate some attention toward one of the biggest challenges facing students on college campuses.

    “One in four college students suffers from a mental disorder,” said Lee Ann Hamilton, assistant director of the UA Health Promotion-Prevention Services. “The events are free, informative and students will gain a better understanding behind the severity of mental illness.”

    The conversation about psychological well-being and its overall impact on the stability of college students has become a topic of significance among policy makers, school administrators and families of students in recent years. Established in 2003 by Alison Malmon, who lost her brother to suicide, Active Minds has since seen a rapid increase in the number of chapters established around college campuses. Since its formation, the nonprofit organization has reached over 400 universities across the country.

    Active Minds hopes to establish a society where the issue of mental instability becomes a central topic and help students obtain the proper treatment without stigma. In order to accomplish this, Active Minds creates awareness campaigns such as National Day Without Stigma, Stress Less Week, Eating Disorders Week and Send Silence Packing. Organized by chapters on college campuses, each of these campaigns works to target specific areas of need regarding mental health.

    In addition to local awareness campaigns, the nonprofit organization also holds an annual national conference where chapters from around the country get to share their work and exchange ideas. Last year’s conference was held at the UC Irvine campus on Nov. 13-15.

    In connection with the upcoming event, the UA Active Minds chapter hopes to use Mental Health Awareness Week to establish a voice for students on our campus with these issues. While the chapter set up the event, other organizations will make contributions as well.

    “[Associated Students of the University of Arizona], Stress Busters, UA Mind and Body, PSI Chi, NAMIand CAPS are all participating in the week-long event” said Joshua Sanchez president of the UA Active Minds chapter. “Activities scheduled for the week are sponsored by different groups.”

    Examples of activities planned for the week range from QPR training, which teaches students how to recognize suicidal signs and behavior, to student panels where students get to share their personal experience with mental illness. A “Suicide Awareness” presentation will commemorate the student lives lost to suicide each year.

    For more information on the event, contact Joshua Sanchez at and visit Active Mind’s website

    Follow Ernesto Fierro on Twitter.

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