Help us choose a name for our fundraising walk in the fall!
We held National Stress Out Day on April 16th in an effort to relieve students’ stress during exam season. The Greater Birmingham Humane Society brought adoptable dogs to the Campus Green. We also had tables set up where students could make stress balls and stomp on bubble wrap.
Some of you may know that the UAB Chapter of Active Minds is now over a year old! And usually when I make these newsletters I try not to write them as myself; however, I felt that the excitement and importance of this newsletter would best be understood if I did a more personal explanation
Active Minds at UAB first started with the task of finding five member’s signatures and a faculty advisor. It was just my luck that I had two super supportive roommates and two fellow honors classmates that not only agreed to sign their names, but also would continue to provide the support and enthusiasm that would be needed to grow the organization to its current state. The task of finding a faculty advisor was something that worried me because I wanted to find someone who had some knowledge of psychology and mental health and was someone that could provide guidance if needed. The only psychology professor I had, had that I felt fit this criteria was Dr. David Knight. I like to think that he truly epitomizes what has been so inspiring to watch during this process. I say this because a quick explanation of Active Minds’ mission was all that was needed to gain his support for the brand-new organization.
After finishing all the paperwork, we were finally able to call ourselves a chapter and get to work on recruiting members. I can’t remember how it happened exactly, but all the sudden I was surrounded by nine amazing student advocates who, like me, wanted to make a change on our campus. These nine activists would make up our current leadership team. We worked all semester trying to recruit new members and brainstorm ideas for programs and any ways we could make an impact.
Now fast-forward to Fall of 2012, our first true semester as a chapter and a UAB organization. We had recruited members all summer and had been forming partnerships with many local organizations like the Birmingham Crisis Center, UAB Student Life, UAB Housing, AFSP, and UAB Psychiatry. And it was soon obvious that we were truly on the verge of something great. This was further demonstrated in October of last year when we hosted Send Silence Packing. As a new chapter this was a huge event to take on and a huge accomplishment. However, this wasn’t our only accomplishment of the past year. We were also awarded the “5-Star Chapter” status from the national level and reached over 100 members on Facebook group.
This past year has been comprised of tremendous growth and achievement by our chapter and it will only continue. At our meeting on Monday night we elected the new leadership team for 2013-2014, and of course with this new team there is a new president. My friends have joked with me all year about how the transition of leadership would leave me feeling like “an upset parent when their child leaves for college.” But, I have worked closely with all of the new officers this past year and I have full confidence that they will be able to not only continue to maintain the UAB chapter, but will also accomplish things that I would have never imagined could be done by our chapter.
To end I want to thank everyone who has encourage, supported, motivated, and inspired me the past year. From my friends who originally helped me organize the structure of the organization, to the community partners, co-workers, and fellow students who have provided the man power to accomplish all of our goals. I want to give a HUGE shout out to Sonya Weisburd from Active Minds who was our regional coordinator when we first started and to Racheal Datz our current regional coordinator. Their help and encouragement was what allowed us to reach the point we are at now. Also, I want to take the time to thank the Birmingham Crisis Center! Stevi and Brittany were a huge support in the early stages of the organization, and Rhiannon who helped spread the word about the organization. Rhiannon, Stevi, and Brittney are no longer at the Crisis Center, but their support and encouragement was amazing. Currently Bradley Reed is our go-to-guy from the Crisis Center and he deserves a huge thank-you as well. Bradley has not only helped in educating our members, but has also represented the Crisis Center at many of our campus wide events this past year. He has also helped table for Active Minds at UAB during some of our recruitment events! I also want to thank Dr. Knight for agreeing to help us get through the first major hurdle in establishing our chapter. He was put into a position that really had no true guidelines and did has filled the position flawlessly.
And finally, I want to thank Susan Hart from the UAB Counseling and Wellness Center. She has been by our side through the ENTIRE process and has always provided me with encouragement, knowledge, and support during the past year.
Without all of you Active Minds at UAB would not exist so, thank you!
President of Active Minds at UAB
We will be hosting Send Silence Packing on Oct. 29th. It will be on the Campus Green from 9am-4pm. UAB Student Life, UAB Housing, UAB’s Office of Student Engagement, UAB Counseling and Wellness Center, UAB Psychiatry, the Birmingham Crisis Center, as well as, the Alabama Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will be present at the event.
The rain location will be the Blazer RLC
This summer we have been busy trying to find funding for Send Silence Packing. Send Silence Packing is a traveling education program that Active MInds sponsors. At the event they lay out 1,100 backpacks representing the number of college lives lost to suicide each year. The event serves as both and educational event and as an impactful, visual representation of just how big a problem silence is when dealing with a mental illness.
Below is a link that further explains what SSP:
Hope everyone has a great rest of the summer and we can’t wait to get started in the fall!