Active Minds Tulane seeks to end mental health stigma

Brandi Doyal, Print News Editor

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Sophomore Rebecca Roth has worked with Tulane’s administration and Undergraduate Student Government to establish an Active Minds chapter on Tulane’s campus this year.

Active Minds is a national nonprofit organization that empowers students to speak openly about mental health to educate others and encourage people to seek help. Alison Malmon started the organization at the University of Pennsylvania after the suicide of her brother.

Now Active Minds is present at more than 400 campuses nationwide and is focused on educating students on relevant topics and directing them to numerous resources available.

Roth said the chapter focuses on changing the campus environment to accommodate those with mental health issues.

“[Active Minds] creates an open and comfortable atmosphere on campus working to eliminate the stigma associated with mental health issues,” Roth said.

After multiple suicides within the Tulane community, Roth said she and a few other students reached out to administrators involved with campus health about starting an Active Minds chapter.

“We discussed our concerns and what we would like to change on campus, focusing on student-driven mental health promotion,” Roth said. “We loved the idea of inspiring a more positive community and connecting students to existing resources on campus.”

The current leaders of the organization are Roth, Natalie Atkin, Eric March and Megan Plotka. More than 70 students have signed up to participate in the chapter’s first general interest meeting Feb. 23 and the organization’s Facebook page has more than 200 likes.

None of the other members could be reached for comment.

Roth said one of the main goals of the organization is to bring speakers to campus to talk about mental health and its stigma.

“Active Minds as a whole has a great collection of speakers to host on campuses, and we hope to begin advertising some incredible and informative events very soon,” Roth said.

Active Minds is currently undergoing USG’s process to achieve active club status within the next few weeks. Roth said she believes this chapter will bring good conversations to the Tulane community.

“When tragic events happen, it is important to understand that it may not be due to inadequate or lacking resources, but countless other factors,” Roth said. “Active Minds Tulane hopes to build an atmosphere where students are comfortable discussing topics such as mental health so that no student feels lost or alone.”