On Thursday, Feb. 20, in the Lown Room of the Memorial Union, the University of Maine’s Active Minds group held the annual Mental Health Monologues.
The event included many speakers from the club who told stories surrounding mental illness and shared inspirational messages meant to raise awareness for mental health and create a comfortable environment. Four speakers from the organization shared their stories and then opened the floor up for guests and audience members to share stories as well.
Active Minds is a nation-wide non-profit organization that has been implemented on more than 500 college campuses, including Bates College, Colby College, Saint Joseph’s and other schools in Maine. The slogan of Active Minds is “Changing the conversation about mental health.” This organization, completely student-led, was created to help break the stigma around mental illness and raise awareness about mental health and available resources for people in need.
Many students present at the event were returning from last year’s Monologues. The UMaine community hosts various events throughout the year that help raise awareness of mental health and provide opportunities to learn more about it.
Other mental health services that are available on campus include the Mind Spa, which is located on the first floor of the Memorial Union in Room 120. The Spa provides many different resources, events and activities to help de-stress and spread mental health awareness on campus. The UMaine Counseling Center, which is next to the Cutler Health Center, and the UMaine Police Department are also resources for students who are struggling with their mental health or who might seek treatment.
Topics surrounding mental health that were discussed at the event included eating disorders, beauty ideals, suicide, sexual assault and harassment, alcoholism, depression, domestic violence, self-harm and anxiety. Although the topics were heavy, Active Minds spread positivity and love during the event and spoke about the importance of having a safe space and a comfortable sharing environment.
Guests could register to speak at the event beforehand online and were also able to volunteer to share once the floor was opened up for people to speak. Each speaker got to take home a planted succulent and other free items, such as buttons, stress balls, cookies and popcorn. Active Minds sold tee shirts at the event for $5 each with the slogan “Grow Through What you Go Through” and held a raffle for two baskets of goodies to raise money for the organization.
Active Minds meets Thursdays from 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the Senior Skulls Room in the Union. The meetings include open conversations about mental health and discussing coping skills and methods for overcoming adversity and dealing with stress.
To get involved in the University of Maine’s Active Minds chapter, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow UMaineActiveMinds on social media for more information.