PostSecretU

This past week we had our PostSecretU collection displayed in the entrance of the Baylor Sciences Building. It was the first time ever that our Baylor chapter has participated in this, and we were very pleased with the outcome as well as with the positive responses received by other students who saw the display.

For those of you who missed it, PostSecretU is the official PostSecret event for college campuses through Active Minds. We are able to use secrets submitted by students for a live display. The display brings awareness to certain issues on campus, and it also allows other students to view the display and read the secrets which results in a sense of connectedness after learning that someone else may have the same secret as them.

We look forward to continuing and expanding this event for years to come!

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Let’s Fight Bullying Together

According to a study done by JAMA pediatrics in 2014, “victims of bullying were more than twice as likely as other kids to contemplate suicide and about 2.5 times as likely to try to kill themselves.” While bullies may think that their words and actions do not directly affect the mental health and wellbeing of their victim, studies such as these have shown just how dangerous bullying can be. Active Minds actively tries to spread awareness and create an environment in which the well-being of students is protected. Lately, the media has also brought attention to the fact that LGBT students are at an even higher risk of falling victim to bullying.

There are many sites online that have some very useful tips in recognizing bullies, recognizing a victim of bullying, and ways to respond to bullying. It is important to recognize that you can be more than just a bystander in bullying. One of the most effective things that you can do is support a victim of bullying. For whatever reason someone may feel harassed, the most important thing is to let them know that they do not stand alone and that you stand beside them to fight against bullying and all types of harassment.

Puppy Play Day and Colors of the Wind

Last week was an eventful one for Active Minds!
We had our “Colors of the Wind” event, in which we handed out balloons with stigmas of different mental health disorders attached to them. We were also able to talk to many people about our mission and why it is important to erase stigmas and inform others around campus.

colors of the wind

Then on Saturday we had our biggest event of the semester- Puppy Play Day! To relieve some stress, students stopped by to play with some of the dogs and kittens that were brought by the Waco Humane Society. Students had fun during this nice break from the busyness of the semester. We would like to thank everyone who stopped by and help us beat last semester’s attendance with over 700 students coming to play with the animals throughout the morning! If you didn’t get a chance to join us, stay tuned for next semester’s Puppy Play Day, and check out the pictures in the gallery!

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Myths and Facts About Schizophrenia

We are brining awareness to schizophrenia for the entire month of November.

What is schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a long-term mental disorder involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior, leading to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation.

Who suffers from schizophrenia?
It effects men and women equally, as well as in similar rates across ethnic groups. Symptoms usually start between ages 16 and 30 and rarely occur in children. Approximately 26 million people globally live with schizophrenia.

Here is a list of some facts and myths about the disorder, that you may or may not know, from NEOMED:

Myth: Schizophrenia is hopeless; people who have it never recover.
Fact: While there is no cure for schizophrenia, there are effective treatments. Medications, recovery-oriented psychosocial treatments and rehabilitation practices are increasingly helping people with schizophrenia to lead productive, successful, and independent lives.

Myth: Hallucinations (seeing, hearing or experiencing things that others do not) and paranoia are the only symptoms of schizophrenia.
Fact: Schizophrenia is a brain-based disease, so in addition to hallucinations, it affects multiple brain functions such as the ability to think clearly, manage emotions, make decisions, and relate to others. People with schizophrenia also have delusions, which are firmly held false beliefs, that may cause them to think people are following them or looking at them.

Myth: People with schizophrenia are dangerous.
Fact: Studies indicate that they are no more dangerous than the rest of the population. People with schizophrenia tend to like being alone and withdrawn and are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators.

Myth: Everyone who has schizophrenia knows that they have an illness.
Fact: Many people who have schizophrenia wait months, sometimes years, and needlessly suffer before a proper diagnosis is made and treatment begins. Sometimes this is because they are unaware of what is wrong.

Myth: People with schizophrenia have split or multiple personalities.
Fact: Schizophrenia is not a split personality disorder. The myth of people with schizophrenia may have come about because the word schizophrenia comes from the Greek word that means “split mind.” The split is referring to a split from reality– not a split or multiple personality.

Myth: People get schizophrenia because they had bad parenting as children or because they have weak characters or personalities.
Fact: Schizophrenia is a complex disorder. It is not the result of anyone’s weakness or character flaws. 

Myth: People with schizophrenia have to take a lot of medication in order to get better.
Fact: Research supports that when people with schizophrenia are treated with a combination of anti-psychotic medications and psychosocial therapies, they can and do get better. Psychosocial therapies involve work/school, family and relationships, and personal goals.

Three out of every 100 people will experience a psychotic episode at some time in their life.
26 Million people globally live with schizophrenia.
50% of people with schizophrenia cannot access adequate treatment.

If you know of someone who is experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia, help them get help.

One way to do that is through the Baylor Counseling Center.

Being Proactive About Suicide Prevention

According to an article in the Chicago Tribune this past summer by Jennifer Chaussee, the Golden Gate Bridge will no longer be the second-most popular bridge for committing suicide if a plan negotiated by Senator Darrell Steinberg and San Francisco lawmakers is accepted by the Board of Directors of the Golden Gate Bridge. The plan is to create suicide barriers in the form of mesh barriers, or nets, in order to prevent people from plummeting to their death, or attempting to. While this may be a good plan to reduce the amount of suicide attempts from this particular site, it would not reduce the amount of suicidal individuals. It is important to remember the root causes of suicide and how to prevent and eliminate those without trying to solely eliminate the number of deaths.

Healthyplace.com writer, Samantha Gluck, wrote about the warning signs of suicide in order to understand and help the suicidal person. Here is a list she created, that was reviewed by psychiatrist Harry Croft, MD, of a few things you could do to be helpful to someone who is threatening suicide:

  • Be direct. Talk openly and matter-of-factly about suicide.
  • Be willing to listen. Allow expressions of feelings. Accept the feelings.
  • Be non-judgmental. Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or feelings are good or bad. Don’t lecture on the value of life.
  • Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support.
  • Don’t dare him or her to do it.
  • Don’t act shocked. This will put distance between you. 
  • Don’t be sworn to secrecy. Seek support.
  • Offer hope that alternatives are available but do not offer glib reassurance.
  • Take action. Remove means, such as guns or stockpiled pills.
  • Get help from persons or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.

If you know of any who may be in danger, help them get help!
The National Hopeline Network 1-800-SUICIDE is available 24/7 and will give you access to trained telephone counselors.
The Baylor Counseling Center is always an option as well. More information on that can be found here.

Both articles mentioned are linked below:

Nets to catch suicide jumpers may be placed beneath iconic Golden Gate Bridge

Understanding and Helping the Suicidal Person 

October 14th Meeting

At last Tuesday’s meeting, we had a great time finishing up the boards from Stomp Out Stigma. We also discussed depression and some of the stigmas we see regularly around campus. If you didn’t have a chance to make it to the Stomp Out Stigma event or the meeting, you can see pictures below!

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We will be participating in Steppin’ Out on November 8th, so if you are interested in volunteering with us email Julian_Aliche@baylor.edu

October is Depression Awareness Month!

According to the World Health Organization, more than 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression. While depression is a treatable illness, according to Dr. Shekhar Saxena, Director of the Department for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, USA, “fewer than half of the people who have depression receive the care they need. In fact in many countries this is less than 10%,” and this is mainly due to the stigma associated with the disorder. Fortunately, we are here to change the way students at Baylor University perceive mental illness. If you, or anyone you know is struggling with depression, reach out! While it may seem that there is not much for you to do, you can always express your understanding and willingness to help, even if this means just listening. The Baylor University Counseling Center is also a great place to direct any students in need– more information can be found here! Let those who struggle know that they’re not alone, and they are surrounded by a lot of people who care.
Depression can affect anyone and is increased by stress (which is clearly experienced on college campuses), so it is important that you take care of yourself! Here are some tips that doctors have on depression:

“Reduce stress to help relieve depression. I make lists of the important things I need to do and then focus on one at a time. That keeps me from feeling overwhelmed.”
“Socialize! Get out of the house and interact with people. That will reduce stress, expand your interests, relieve boredom, and sharpen your mind, all of which can counter depression.”

Robert Rowney, DO, psychiatrist, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland 

“Exercise boosts the mood. We know that from studies, and I see it in my patients who work out. An early walk gets you up and outdoors first thing.

-Jennifer Payne, MD, director, Women’s Mood Disorders Center, Johns Hopkins Hospital, and associate professor, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore 

“Exercise benefits people with depression, so do it regularly to keep your mood up. Cardio and light weightlifting especially get my patients going in the morning and improve their alertness and energy all day.”
“Sound sleep will help counter depressive feelings. My best moods occur after I get a solid eight hours of sleep, and my patients report feeling better when they sleep well.”

-Bryan Bruno, MD, acting chair of psychiatry, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City

9/16 Meeting

During Last Tuesday’s meeting, we had a great discussion about what addiction means, as well as stigmas that are associated with it. We also had a visit from our faculty advisor, Dr. Emma Wood, who works in the counseling center. She told us about her personal experience facing stigmas and the reason she became a clinical psychologist.

Some of the stigmas she talked about were simple things we see every day; one of the most important has to do with using mental health language inappropriately. Often students say “I’m so depressed” or “the weather’s so bipolar today” in a way that downplays the severity of the disorder. In many cases these issues stem from ignorance, which is one of the reasons Active Minds tries to educate students about these disorders.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by our bake sale table on Monday!

Our next meeting is September 30th, at 5:30 pm in BSB C123, so we’ll see you then!

Meeting Notes 9/2

Our interest meeting yesterday was a huge success! If you weren’t able to make it, here’s a quick summary of what happened.

We introduced this year’s officers – see the “Meet Your Officers” page if you would like to know more about what everyone does. After getting to know each other a little bit, we discussed some of the stigmas and stereotypes about mental health that we’ve noticed around us. We also talked a lot about the upcoming events for this semester, including Drug Day, the bake sale, and Puppy Play Day. Event suggestions are always welcome so don’t hesitate to send one of the officers and email or talk to us in person after the meeting.

Don’t forget that the Webmaster position is currently open. Please email Julian_Aliche@baylor.edu and Sarah_Krennerich@baylor.edu to get more information and an application!

Our next meeting is on Tuesday September 16th at 5:30 pm. We’ll be meeting in the same room as last time, BSB C123. We hope to see you then!

4/2 Meeting

Today’s meeting was a lot of fun! Not only did we learn about what OCD is, Sarah designed an obstacle course to help us understand how it feels to live with OCD. If you missed the meeting and would like to learn more about OCD, click here to see the video we watched this meeting. It was short, but very informative!

Also, Steppin’ Out is this Saturday. We will be working with a few other organizations to clean up a local business’ storage and sort things for a garage sale. It is going to be awesome, so even if you haven’t signed up you should come with us! Just send me an email if you’d like to help out (Kristin_Waites@baylor.edu). Tonight I will be emailing everyone who has signed up to volunteer with us, so you will have all of the details for Saturday.

Keep in mind that our bake sale is coming up in a few weeks. It will be on Wednesday April 30th, and even if you aren’t able to work the bake sale, you can help us bake the night before. 

Our last meeting of the semester is April 23rd, and we hope to see you all there!