Active Minds kicks of mental health awareness week with celebration

By David Matz

Today kicks off Active Minds’ National Mental Health Awareness Week. The national student organization, Active Minds, is sponsoring a National Day Without Stigma to celebrate the start of awareness week.

“We are trying to promote awareness of the social stigma behind having mental health issues,” said Scott Dupy senior psychology major and Active Minds co-president.

Active Minds is a national student organization that has been on the NIU campus since 2005 and helps promote positive mental health.

In order to promote stigma awareness, the student members of Active Minds will pass out flyers, brochures, stickers and buttons today. The NIU chapter of Active Minds received supplies from the national office in order to spread the word about mental health issues and the social stigma that comes with it.

“A lot of people need to know it’s all around them and not to perpetuate the social stigma with mental illness,” said Brad Churchill, junior sociology major and recent member of Active Minds.

“We are trying to combat the inaccurate media messages about mental illness,” said Anne Kubal licensed clinical psychologist at the NIU counseling center and faculty advisor for Active Minds. She said people think of negative connotations surrounding mental health and psychologists, citing the movie “What About Bob?” as an example. Active Minds, however, is trying to change that image this year, and encourages people to seek the help they may need.

“It’s not just about mental illness, but everyday mental health,” Kubal said.

Some people come into the counseling center after a rough break up or with problems at home. Kubal and Active Minds wants people to know that the counseling center and other counseling resources on campus are open to anyone with any degree of mental health issues.

Active Minds hopes their efforts during National Day without Stigma will change the negative image surrounding mental illness.

“The main thing is awareness and to have people be more comfortable to talk about it,” Dupy said.