If you didn’t walk past the EMU last Wednesday, then I’m guessing you didn’t see the abnormal shoe display in the amphitheater.
In order to raise awareness of the 1,200 college students who die by suicide each year, a student-run organization known as Active Minds (along with help from the Suicide Prevention Team) built this creative display where shoes were laid out in the middle of the amphitheater in honor of Stomp out the Silence Day. It stirred curiosity amongst students, including me; and as one of their first major university campaigns, they are quickly spreading awareness and grabbing people’s attention.
Active Minds is a national organization devoted to changing how others think about mental health and illness. They encourage open conversations in comfortable environments on college campuses throughout North America. By holding campus-wide events, Active Minds hopes to help students become more educated and open about mental health disorders and to aid those who suffer from mental health problems.
There are many chapters on college campuses across the country dedicated to this cause; and while the UO chapter is fairly new, they are quickly establishing themselves and their cause and encouraging students to get more involved.
UO’s Active Minds held many events last week for Stomp Out the Stigma Week: a week dedicated to destroying the negative associations that go along with mental illness. They had a film showing of “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” on Tuesday, the shoe display on Wednesday, and as a big finale, they held an “Awkward Social” party on Friday night.
Active Minds frequently tables outside the EMU to educate others, but they really stepped up their game with last week’s activities. And even though they are a recently formed chapter, I have a feeling we will be hearing and seeing a lot more of them within the next year!