About Active Minds, Inc. What is Active Minds, Inc.? Active Minds is a rapidly growing network of thousands of college students working towards one goal: to create campuses where students feel encouraged to speak openly about mental health and seek help. Active Minds takes a grassroots approach to changing the conversation about mental health one campus at a time. A nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, DC, Active Minds has more than 350 student chapters in nearly all 50 states, plus Washington, DC, Canada and Australia. Active Minds was established in 2001 by Alison Malmon after tragically losing her only brother, Brian, to suicide. Alison was then a junior at the University of Pennsylvania. Driven to combat the stigma and lack of understanding that she felt contributed to Brian’s death, she developed a student organization to promote mental health awareness on her campus. Upon graduating she launched the national nonprofit, Active Minds, Inc.
Active Minds is: A liaison between students, college/university administration and the mental health community A referral service, directing students to the school’s counseling services and other local mental health services and support Open to all students – whether you yourself are diagnosed with a mental health disorder, you know someone who is, or you just care about the cause
Active Minds is not: A support group Students providing clinical services/therapy Meant for only psychology students or students with a diagnosed mental health disorder
At Active Minds, Inc. we strive to: Provide education and resources about mental health and the prevalence of mental health disorders; the risks, signs and symptoms of particular disorders; and available resources for seeking help, in order to reduce stigma and so that all students know where to turn for help. Empower students to engage their peers, school administrators and communities so every campus cares about mental health. Equip students leaders with the tools and skills they need to succeed as the next generation of mental health advocates. Connect all who are passionate about student mental health in order to energize a movement for change.
What do Active Minds chapters do? Active Minds chapters are student-run mental health awareness, education and advocacy groups on college campuses. Chapters are designed to use peer outreach and education to:
Increase students’ awareness of mental health issues and symptoms of mental health disorders Provide information about available resources Encourage students to seek help as soon as help is needed Serve as a liaison between students and the mental health community
By promoting awareness and education, chapters aim to reduce the stigma that surrounds mental health and create an open environment for discussion of mental health issues. Chapters target the entire college community through large-scale campaigns, programs and events.
Organizational Structure of Active Minds, Inc. Active Minds, Inc. is a nationally recognized non-profit organization registered with the District of Columbia and the Internal Revenue Service. The national office, located in Washington, DC, works to support campus chapters by developing and providing resources, assistance and programs. In addition to the national staff, there are several advisory groups that make up the national leadership structure of Active Minds, Inc. 1) National Leadership Board of Directors: As a non-profit organization, Active Minds, Inc. is governed by a Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is comprised of volunteers who work in various professional fields. The Board of Directors is primarily tasked with assuring the financial sustainability of Active Minds, and is also concerned with the overall strategic plan of the organization.
National Staff: The national staff of Active Minds, Inc. is comprised of an Executive Director and a number of director, manager, coordinator and volunteer intern staff. As Active Minds grows, the structure of the staff will continue to develop and change. Find us at www.activeminds.org/staff. o The Executive Director is the senior manager of the organization, oversees all national staff, and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the national office. The Executive Director is also responsible to the Board of Directors and works with the Board in developing and implementing a strategic plan. The Executive Director serves as the face of the organization, representing Active Minds, Inc. in the national arena. o The National Chapter Director spearheads Active Minds’ efforts to grow and support campus-based chapters, by providing leadership and collaborative direction to the Chapters team and serving as a liaison between Active Minds and relevant partners and stakeholders. o Regional Chapter Managers are responsible for supporting chapters in particular regions of the United States and internationally by providing resources, assistance and bestpractices to individual chapters and by connecting chapters to each other. o The Program Director is responsible for developing, implementing and strengthening all national programs that focus on various populations and program areas; building the 5
Active Minds’ brand; and promoting Active Minds’ mission on campus and in the greater community. The Program Manager for National Initiatives assists the Program Director with the development, management and implementation of Active Minds’ National Programs, including the Mental Health on Campus Conference, Send Silence Packing, and Emerging Scholars Fellowship. The Program Manager for Student-Led Initiatives assists the Program Director with the development, management and implementation of Active Minds’ chapter hosted programs, including National Day Without Stigma, National Stress Øut Day and National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. The Program Manager for the Speakers Bureau is responsible for managing the Active Minds Speakers Bureau. The Director of Communications and Marketing manages all organizational communications and marketing needs, including creation and dissemination of information about Active Minds through traditional media outreach, email listservs, website, and other social networking outlets. The Development Director is responsible for developing and implementing a fundraising strategy, focusing on relationships and investment in Active Minds' life changing work. National Office Interns are employed throughout the school year and assist National Staff in brainstorming and implementing programs, initiatives and educational content for the organization.
Student Advisory Committee (SAC): The Active Minds Student Advisory Committee (SAC) is comprised of up to fifteen Active Minds chapter members from across the US and Canada who have shown exemplary leadership and dedication to Active Minds and mental health advocacy on their campuses. The SAC plays an integral role within the national Active Minds organization (Active Minds, Inc.) by bringing the student voice to conversations on national operations and programming. The SAC fulfills its primary function of advising the Active Minds national staff through monthly conference calls and a variety of online interactions including taking surveys, piloting new software or online tools, and communicating through email on a regular basis. SAC members engage in the national conversation about mental health, help plan the Active Minds National Mental Health on Campus Conference, make life-long friendships, and grow as leaders. Learn more at www.activeminds.org/sac.
National Advisory Committee (NAC): The National Advisory Committee is comprised of expert volunteers who work in various professional fields, including business, research, politics, and advocacy. The NAC meets once a year at the annual Active Minds National Mental Health on Campus Conference, and supports the mission and activities of Active Minds, Inc. through each individuals’ involvement on the committee.
2) National Membership Groups Alumni Network: The Active Minds Alumni Network is comprised of graduates of Active Minds chapters who wish to remain involved in the mission and work of Active Minds, Inc. The Network is led by a Leadership Council that is responsible 6
for keeping alumni engaged with the national organization, each other, and current chapters across United States and internationally. Find our alumni at www.activeminds.org/alumni.
Parents and Families for Active Minds (PFAM): Parents and Families for Active Minds is a membership-based group for moms, dads, aunts, uncles, siblings, grandparents, and friends who care about young adult mental health and want to be part of the movement. To learn more and join PFAM visit www.activeminds.org/families.
3) Local Leadership Chapters: Active Minds chapters are student-run mental health awareness, education and advocacy groups on college campuses. They are led by Student Leaders, advised by Chapter Advisors, and membership is open to all students on campus.
Student Leaders: Each local Active Minds chapter is run by volunteer student leaders. Chapter leadership typically includes a president, vice president, secretary and treasurer; and often includes other executive board members. These student leaders are responsible for the majority of work that is done to sustain Active Minds’ presence on their campuses, and are recognized for being change-makers and leaders among their peers.
Chapter Advisors: All Active Minds chapters are required to have a faculty or staff advisor. The Chapter Advisor serves as a liaison to the chapter and student leaders, and helps to maintain a strong Active Minds presence on campus through times of leadership transition.
Active Minds, Inc. National Programs To support the student voice on campus, Active Minds, Inc. has developed the following programs, initiatives and opportunities that are offered as an exclusive benefit to Active Minds chapters. Find each of our national programs online at www.activeminds.org/programs. The Active Minds Speakers Bureau (www.activeminds.org/mentalhealthspeakers) Goal: To increase awareness and help-seeking behavior and decrease stigma through personal storytelling. What’s Involved: The Speakers Bureau is a group of highly trained dynamic speakers who provide positive examples of young adults who have dealt with mental health disorders. They speak to chapters, colleges, high schools, middle schools, parents, organizations and at conferences across the country. Through their presentations, our speakers inspire and empower audiences to take charge of their mental health. Chapters may book any speaker from the Speakers Bureau at a discounted price and also receive certain other benefits from the speaker upon booking. Eric Trendell Chapter Development Fund (www.activeminds.org/chaptergrant) Goal: To strengthen chapters by offering financial support that will enhance chapters’ ability to carry out successful programs and advance the mission of Active Minds. What’s Involved: Active Minds chapters have the opportunity to apply for funding from Active Minds, Inc. through the Eric Trendell Chapter Development Fund. Any active chapter may apply for funds in order to support their chapter needs related to programming, infrastructure, membership and leadership. Active Minds awards three grants each month during the school year (August through April). Chapters are eligible to apply once a semester, but are only able to receive one grant per school year. 7
National Initiatives Active Minds National Mental Health on Campus Conference (www.activeminds.org/conference) Goal: The only national conference geared towards young adult mental health advocates, the Active Minds National Mental Health on Campus Conference serves to educate, energize and inspire students, faculty, staff and administrators to change the conversation about mental health on their campuses. What’s Involved: At the Active Minds National Mental Health on Campus Conference, Active Minds chapter members and advisors meet, brainstorm, network and discuss current programs as well as plans for the future. The three day conference includes workshops, a leadership institute, guest speakers, networking opportunities and informational sessions. Chapter members gain skills, resources and ideas for planning and implementing effective programs on their campuses. Attending the conference helps Active Minds chapter members develop leadership skills and is a way to foster dialogue about the national Active Minds movement. The conference occurs annually, generally on a weekend in October or November. Send Silence Packing (www.sendsilencepacking.org) Goal: To raise awareness about the prevalence and impact of student suicide. What’s Involved: Send Silence Packing is a traveling exhibit of 1,100 donated backpacks with personal stories and pictures representing the number of college lives lost to suicide each year. Active Minds, Inc. travels the program to campuses and cities across North America and collects backpacks and personal stories in memory and/or in honor of loved ones impacted by suicide. Emerging Scholars Fellowship (www.activeminds.org/scholars) Goal: To cultivate the next generation of mental health advocates and experts. The Emerging Scholars Fellowship aims to expand the body of literature, creative expression, and discourse devoted to mental health with a particular emphasis on issues relevant to younger communities. What’s Involved: The Emerging Scholars program is a competitive fellowship that provides recipients an opportunity to complete funded, independent mental health projects and to be connected with a network of young scholars and national experts in the field of behavioral health. Applications are accepted late in the fall semester and students complete their projects throughout the spring.
Campus-based Initiatives National Day Without Stigma (www.activeminds.org/ndwsmaterials) Goal: To kick-off the school year with increased mental health awareness and reduce stigma through education and promotion of help-seeking behavior. What’s Involved: National Day Without Stigma is held on the first Monday of each October, which falls during the national Mental Health Awareness Week. Participating chapters receive materials, including suggested events; sample flyers, news editorials, and donor request letters; educational materials from relevant mental health organizations, Active Minds giveaways and more. Events often include panel discussions, tabling, Counselors Out of the Center, and Stomp Out Stigma. 8
National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (www.activeminds.org/eatingdisorders) Goal: To raise awareness about the prevalance and impact of eating disorders amongst young adults and provide additional resources for seeking treatment. What’s Involved: National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is held in February each year. Participating chapters receive access to materials, including suggested events; sample flyers, news editorials, and donor request letters; and educational materials from Active Minds, Inc. and our partners at the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). Chapters provide students with information on eating disorders, body image and available mental health resources on campus through a series of fun, entertaining and innovative events. National Stress Øut Day (www.activeminds.org/stressoutday) Goal: To help students relieve stress during final exams and learn about related disorders. What’s Involved: National Stress Øut Day is held in April, coinciding with end-of-year finals and exams. Participating chapters receive materials, including suggested events; sample flyers, news editorials, and donor request letters; educational materials from relevant mental health organizations, Active Minds giveaways and more. Chapters provide students with information on anxiety and available mental health resources on campus through a series of fun, entertaining and stress-relieving includes, including Screamfest, Oasis in the Library, and Recess. PostSecretU (www.activeminds.org/postsecretu) Goal: To create an open and safe forum to express secrets, regrets, fears, desires, talents, or confessions; encourage a dialogue about the real issues students face; and foster community among students who read and relate their peers’ secrets and realize they are not alone. What’s Involved: Chapters may purchase the PostSecretU program kit from Active Minds, which includes program planning resources, postcards and additional giveaways and materials. Participating chapters coordinate a campus version of Frank Warren’s acclaimed PostSecret project by collecting anonymous secrets from their campus community, and presenting the secrets in a way that encourages an open dialogue about the issues students face, with an emphasis on mental health.