New mental health club launches at Downtown campus

What started out as a class assignment for 10 nursing seniors is now a new chapter of Active Minds at ASU, a student organization at the Phoenix campus that intends to increase awareness of mental health issues.

“It was originally a community health project, but everyone in the group felt that we should go ahead and do an intervention, and that’s how seeking out Active Minds got used,” said Tina Violetta, nursing senior and club president.

The club’s efforts were launched to reduce the misconceptions that surround mental health issues and promote awareness of mental health.

Prior to the project, ASU didn’t have a student-led organization that dealt with solely mental health issues.

For Marissa Reyes, a nursing senior and the group’s vice president, there were two major driving forces for starting the club.

“It was especially important due to the recent shootings in Tucson, and also my own personal experiences with mental health issues,” Reyes said.

The purpose was to make sure that students had a place to comfortably address mental health, mental illness, or other emotional and anxiety issues between students, Violetta said.

“There was a need for an intervention for the negative stigma around mental health and illness, where students could bring it to the forefront that it’s OK to talk about [mental health issues],” she said. “We wanted to bring that awareness to the whole entire campus.”

Active Minds is a nonprofit organization that currently has more than 300 campus chapters across the country that strive to advocate for young adult mental health.

Active Minds is the only nonprofit organization that includes student voices and promotes change solely for mental health on college campuses, according to the group’s website.

“[It] works to increase students’ awareness of mental health issues, provide information and resources regarding mental health and mental illness, encourage students to seek help as soon as it is needed, and serve as a liaison between students and the mental health community,” according to the site.

The club plans to host campus-wide events that will inform both students and faculty of the resources and services available through the University and in the surrounding communities of each campus.

The chapter will hold its first meeting Monday at 3 p.m. in the Nursing and Health Innovation 2 building in Room 222.

“[We have] no idea how many students to expect, but we’ve had a lot of good responses from people so we’re hoping 20 to 30 people,” Reyes said.

Two different e-mails have been sent out to ASU faculty and staff to promote the new club to students.

“These students are very committed and excited about the kind of work they want to do on campus and already have wonderful ideas for implementing educational initiatives,” according to one of the e-mails sent out last week by Fredeswinda Roman, assistant director of ASU Wellness.

So far all members are from the nursing program, but the group is looking for a diverse membership, Violetta said.

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