Active Minds Club meets to plan upcoming events
Alyssa Korzon and club president, Kayla Mitchell, spoke to new and returning members about plans for the spring.
Aaron Berkowitz – General Assignment Reporter
Despite the majority of their club meetings being canceled due to the winter weather, Active Minds Club members said their plan to eliminate the social stigmas associated with mental illness is still in full effect.
Desiree Randeau, is a freshman public health major who joined the club in the fall semester of 2014. She said she joined primarily because of her own experience with mental health issues and her desire to develop more of a community on campus.
“I just want to help other people to not feel alone,” said Randeau.
Caitlin Malloy, psychology/mental health major and treasurer of the club, said creating a sense of community on campus is important to her and a big part of the reason she chose to join the club. She explained everyone has the power to impact someone else’s life; some are just unaware of it.
“Even if you’re going through your own struggles,” said Malloy, “there’s always someone else out there who can relate.”
Randeau said her favorite event that the club has held was “Strike Out Stigma,” where they organized a gathering at a bowling alley for people to come out and have a good time, while having informative conversations and networking.
“The bowling part drew people in, but once everyone got more comfortable it was great to see people begin to ask questions and share experiences they’ve had,” said Randeau. “When everyone was leaving it seemed like people had a better understanding and our point had gotten across.”
“During the event,” said Malloy, “we talked to students about the importance of spreading awareness because a lot of the misunderstandings come from being misinformed.”
Club president, Kayla Mitchell, a senior public health major, said the club is something she holds close to her heart because she too understands how tough it can be to deal with a mental illness alone and she hopes to make a career out of helping as many people as possible.
“I want to make it more known that everyone is struggling in some way, but there is always someone out there who can help you,” said Mitchell. “I also want people to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”
Alyssa Korzon said the club has been steadily trying to work with other organizations around campus to add expand the demographic of people that their messages reach. She said the club has been getting positive feedback and is most known for their Chair project that targeted suicide awareness, Free Hug event and mirror messages.
“You can feel when you’re hugging someone that you’re making them feel better,” said Korzon. “That’s an amazing feeling for us to know that we are helping others in a different way. We really are promoting self encouragement and trying to make students more aware of the resources that they have available. A lot of people know about our events, but don’t know who we are as a club, which can be frustrating, but it’s good to know that our messages are reaching students.”
According to Mitchell, the club has grown over the past few years and is now up to 15 members, but they would like to see it continue to grow because that means more people are becoming aware of how important mental health is.
“In the future we’re hoping to work with other chapters, such as UConn,” said Mitchell. “We’ve discussed possibly doing a stress free carnival for students to come out and enjoy, but these are future projects. Right now we’re focusing on promoting awareness and recruiting new members.”
The club meets every Monday at 1 p.m. and anyone interested in getting involved can reach the club members through their Twitter or Facebook page.
Photo Credit: Derek Torrellas