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Active Minds provides mental health resources for members during pandemic

Active Minds provides mental health resources for members during pandemic

Active Minds provides mental health resources for members during pandemic
April 17
12:00 2020

As students deal with the changes caused by COVID-19, many students have experienced struggles with mental health, so Active Minds has been providing support for students to help them get through the rest of the semester.

The UNT student organization aims to break the stigma surrounding mental health in college students.

“Our goal is to connect our peers to resources and educate ourselves on how to best support our friends,” said Macy Faust, Active Minds president and rehabilitation studies sophomore. “We are not a support group, but we try our best to advocate for different mental health issues and just kind of promote the idea that it’s OK not to be OK.”

Once classes were moved to online, Active Minds decided to continue meetings virtually to support individuals struggling with mental health during this time.

“We knew that whenever this all started and all the changes to UNT appeared, we knew that it was going to be difficult to continue our organization,” Faust said. “That motivated us even more because a lot of our peers and members in Active Minds had a sense of isolation and detachment from the university, so we were empowered to provide and foster a community where students could still advocate for mental health.”

The organization hopes to provide mental health resources that may be especially crucial during the pandemic.

“Mental health resources are always important, but especially during this time is when some of us need it the most,” international studies junior Yarely Parra said. “Being at home for so long can give us anxiety and we can become unmotivated to do our school work, [so] it is helpful to have these resources at hand when they are needed.”

Active Minds has been meeting twice per week instead of its normal weekly meeting to provide extra support during this time, through general meetings and chapter chats. The organization’s general meetings have the same structure as the in-person meetings, except they take place over Zoom. Its other meetings, called chapter chats, are mental health wellness check-ins for members, where they can log on and talk about anything members would like to discuss and play games.

The organization has still been able to further its growth during this time, as they have had several new members join whom they have not met in person, Faust said. These mental health resources are important to the organization so they can provide support for students who may be out of their element.

“During this pandemic, the majority of students, at least that I’ve talked to, they’ve had to go home, and they feel isolated from their peers at UNT,” Faust said. “Overall, it’s just a sense of unease because everyone’s daily lives have flipped upside down, and that can be really overwhelming, especially for college students because we already have so much going on.”

Members of Active Minds have used these virtual meetings to stay connected and not feel alone.

“I’ve chosen to still show up to meetings online because it’s very comforting [for] me to know that I’m not the only one struggling,” biology senior Yara Zraiqat said. “When we all share how we’re feeling, I feel less overwhelmed with what’s going on currently.”

The Active Minds members recognize mental health can be a problem for anyone during this time, not just those with an official diagnosis, Faust said.

“There has been a huge shift and effect for everyone in one way or another, and that can be very hard,” said Bakhtawar Yasir, Active Minds secretary and political science sophomore. “Not everyone has a mental health condition, but everyone has mental health, so it is pertinent it is being taken care of.”

The organization plans on continuing to provide support to help its members get through these changes.

“The most important thing for our chapter right now is to maintain connection and relationships,” Faust said. “We’re really just trying to check in on our members because they’re the whole reason that we have an organization, so we’re really focusing on them. We’re also focusing on how we can creatively implement new programs online, which has been a bit of an adjustment. We’re trying to figure out how we can still meet the needs of our members while continuing advocacy.”

Featured Image: Courtesy Active Minds

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Maria Lawson

Maria Lawson

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