Active Minds: Students Engaged in Mental Health Awareness

10660416_10152354874287336_854102426_nCollege is a stressful time for everybody, but for some students, it’s so stressful they sadly never make it home. Suicide on college campuses is a taboo topic that’s rarely spoken about. It seems like there are only one or two resources to help students.

Valley sat down with Active Minds president Ally Fiorenzi, a senior majoring in health and human development, who wants everybody to know that there’s always help and always hope.

“The initiative of Active Minds is to engage students in the discussion of mental health issues, encourage help-seeking behaviors and ultimately end the stigma around mental illness,” says Fiorenzi.

Active Minds is involved in many events throughout the year, but the main event of the organization is Mental Health and Wellness Week which is held annually. They collaborate with the student government and various other organizations on campus to promote mental health and wellness.

“Active Minds addresses all students on campus,” says Fiorenzi. “Remember, we all have mental health.”

The organization is great for long-term benefits, but for students who need help sooner, Fiorenzi says that the Counseling and Psychological Services center (also known as CAPS) is located right on campus on the fifth floor of the student health center.

“CAPS can help students resolve personal concerns that may interfere with their academic progress, social development and satisfaction at Penn State,” Fiorenzi says.  “Appointments can be made Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.”

CAPS has trained professionals to help with many issues. “The most common concerns include anxiety, depression, relationship troubles, sexual identity, lack of motivation, difficulty relaxing, eating disorders, sexual assault and sexual abuse recovery and uncertainties about personal values and beliefs,” says Fiorenzi.

Active Minds also tries to address all of these issues, especially during Mental Health and Wellness Week.

Fiorenzi wants to remind everybody that Active Minds accepts everybody – no mental diagnosis is needed, and many members do not have one.

Interested in joining Active Minds? Contact Fiorenzi at arf5194@psu.edu. New members are always welcome.

For anybody who does need immediate help, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. For those who dislike talking on the phone, they now have a chat website, which you can access here.  

Photo provided by Ally Fiorenzi