The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Active Minds promotes active dialogue

With our brains active for finals, Active Minds — the newest club at Guilford — wants to help us deal with the stress. Students involved in the club hope to improve the conversation about mental health issues and they are not wasting any time in doing it.

“A lot of people have problems with saying ‘I am depressed,'” said senior and Active Minds co-president Claire Norwood. “It should be more acceptable to bring up things like that in daily life. There’s nothing wrong with you if you’re depressed; it’s just something you have to work through.”

A chapter of a larger national organization, Active Minds promotes mental health awareness and suicide prevention. The organization has almost 300 chapters across the country according to its website. Norwood says that the Guilford chapter is the only fully active chapter in North Carolina.

The chapter started when Director of Counseling Gaither Terrell — who is now the club’s advisor — reached out to students to help create a safe and welcoming place to talk about suicide.

“I was looking for a way to bring the issue of suicide to the forefront,” Terrell said. “This is about increasing the conversation around mental health, making it more open and something we can talk about on campus.”

Terrell’s call to action was answered by several students, including the club’s co-presidents Norwood and sophomore Lexie Arani. Other Guilford students think that Active Minds is a good idea as well.

“Suicide prevention is very important,” said junior Barbi Eubanks. “I had a friend commit suicide in high school, and it affected the whole town. We had a student pass away here recently — not even a suicide — and it shook the whole community. I think what Active Minds is doing is great.”

Senior Lindsey Aldridge said that mental health is an important concern for college students in particular.

“We put ourselves into boxes of expectations that we can’t always live up to, so we get down about it, beat ourselves up, and do it again,” said Aldridge. “There are so many unhealthy ways to fight the stress that we face in college, self-imposed or not. I’m glad to see an organization at Guilford starting up to explore healthy ways to maintain this balance.”

The focus of the club grew from issues surrounding suicide to working against the stigma surrounding mental health problems.

“We all have mental health issues, just like we all have health issues,” Terrell said. “Your mental health may be good, but you’ll still have issues from time to time.”

Active Minds became an official Guilford club in late October. Since then, members have been planning a wide range of events to get the community involved. In addition to more usual events like movie screenings and discussions, Active Minds also plans to hold several “pet therapy” events, during which students can lower stress by playing with dogs. The first of these took place on Dec. 8.

“When someone has a dog on campus, they are the most popular person,” Norwood said. “Having a pet, having something to care for, will decrease stress and help with homesickness. We want to bring that feeling to everybody.”

While cool events come with the club, there is also excitement about having a place for open discussion of mental health.

“I think this is extremely valuable,” Eubanks said. “This is important not just for those who have mental health issues, but also for those who don’t have such issues to understand and help.”

Active Minds currently meets Wednesdays at 2 p.m. outside of Founders if the weather permits, inside if otherwise. Norwood and others hope that more people will start to attend club meetings to make use of what the club has to offer.

“I want to be sure that our point gets across,” Norwood said. “Active Minds is a resource place if you’re feeling depressed or suicidal. It can answer the question ‘Where can I go from here?'” 

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