Active Minds Hoco

Active Minds represented its organization in the Homecoming parade Oct. 9. The next day the organization teamed up Psi Chi and the Behavioral Sciences Association Oct. 10 to host a walk for mental health awareness. 

The Northwest Active Minds organization teamed up with Psi Chi and the Behavioral Sciences Association Oct. 10 to walk for mental health awareness. 

The three groups met at the Fine Arts Building on campus and walked the 3.1-mile Bearcat trail together. The event aimed to allow participants to share their own stories, as well as have an open, friendly discussion about mental health.

Brooke Christianson, junior and co-event coordinator for Active Minds, said she hopes the walk will motivate people to speak up when they see others struggling.

“We hope the walk gives students the opportunity to freely participate in conversations about mental health and to erase the stigma that surrounds tough discussions with mental health,” Christianson said.

Cayla Vertreese, junior and president of Active Minds, also said that events like these would hopefully break the stigma around mental illness and create an open and safe environment for people to have discussions.

Vetreese said that a walk as the center of the event is to emphasize how physical health goes with mental health.

“Your mental health is just as important as your physical health,” Vertreese said. 

Vertreese said the group of students provided a sense of solidarity and that it was nice to be surrounded by people with the same goals and ideals. 

Adam Stricker, senior and president of Psi Chi, said he believed it is really about having a strong support system.

After Active Minds paired up with Psi Chi for a movie night last year, they decided to work together again for this event. 

“We paired up with Psi Chi and the Behavioral Sciences Association because we share similar ideals and would love to get as many people involved as possible,” Christianson said. 

Due to COVID-19, Christianson said they ran into conflicts when setting up the event.

After considering what would work to keep everyone safe and social distant, they decided that a walk was the best and safest option. 

The walk was beneficial to organizers because it was set up to allow for virtual participation, which is especially important right now.

“They can walk at home, walk at the gym, walk with us around campus or even just support mental health via social media. It's also really beneficial to mental health because it's a good way to practice self-care,” Christianson said. 

Christianson said the group followed the University’s mitigation policies and added a few precautions of their own. 

Masks were mandatory for all participants to ensure their safety. As an extra step of precaution, they split up into two groups in order to have less people around each other at one time.

This event was planned in order to participate on World Mental Health Day. The National Alliance of Mental Illness holds multiple events on this day, which includes the hope walk that Active Minds hosted.

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