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Aerial view of the Virginia Tech campus, featuring the central lawn surrounded by trees and classical architecture, with mountains in the distance.

Active Minds’ Founder Alison Malmon Shares Thoughts on Campus Mental Health

Image: Virginia Tech received a 2022 Active Minds Healthy Campus Award (© Rick Craig)

In a recently published op-ed by The Hechinger Report, “Mental health services are crucially important for student success but often overlooked,” Active Minds’ Founder and Executive Director Alison Malmon discusses the importance of a positive mental health culture on campus, as well as questions to ask when considering a college.

Read the op-ed

active minds experts directory

Alison Malmon

Active Minds' Story
Suicide Prevention
Workplace Mental Health

Alison Malmon

Founder and Executive Director

Alison Malmon

Alison Malmon

Founder and Executive Director

Alison Malmon is the founder and Executive Director of Active Minds, and a sought after mental health expert. Alison formed the organization in 2003 as a 21-year-old, following the suicide of her brother and only sibling Brian. Wanting to end the silence that caused her brother to suffer alone and ultimately take his own life, Alison created a group on her campus at the University of Pennsylvania to promote open dialogue around mental health. Since then, Active Minds has grown into the country’s foremost mental health organization for students and young adults, with award-winning programs and a vibrant network of campus chapters located at more than 600 colleges, universities, and high schools nationwide.

Contact Alison

Laura Horne

Active Minds Programs
Mental Health Policy
Active Minds Students

Laura Horne

Chief Program Officer

Laura Horne

Laura Horne

Chief Program Officer

As Chief Program Officer at Active Minds, Laura develops innovative strategies and unique partnerships to empower students to help society embrace a comprehensive, public health approach to mental health. She oversees Active Minds’ evidence-based peer-to-peer approach and award-winning programmatic portfolio, including Active Minds’ nationwide network of more than 600 college and high school chapters, Send Silence Packing®, Active Minds Speakers, V-A-R®, among many others.

Prior to Active Minds, Laura provided technical assistance and training to a nationwide network of multi-sector community coalitions to implement health policy, systems, and environmental change and prevent chronic disease in schools, workplaces, and communities through her work at the National Association of County and City Health Officials. She also managed a public health communications portfolio at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Laura earned her Master of Public Health degree in community health sciences from Tulane University and her Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Loyola University New Orleans. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing.

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Becky Fein

Active Minds Programs
Active Minds Students
Mental Health Workshops

Becky Fein

VP, Community Initiatives

Becky Fein

Becky Fein

VP, Community Initiatives

Becky oversees and leads the Active Minds California Mental Health Services Act (CalMHSA) funded initiative. She has been supporting the creation of peer-powered student advocacy programs, under CalMHSA contracts, for five years, beginning in 2012 at Santa Rosa Junior College and Sonoma State University. Becky served as Adjunct Faculty at Santa Rosa Junior College, where she taught a course on personal health and issues at the forefront of public health. She has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from University of California, Davis, and a Master’s of Public Health from Columbia University. Becky also co-founded the Powerful Voices Project, a documentary film series highlighting the stories of resilience and recovery from people who have experienced sexual assault.

Contact Becky

Lauren Cikara

K-12 Mental Health
LGBTQ+ Mental Health
Health Education and Equity

Lauren Cikara

Director, K-12 Initiatives

Lauren Cikara

Lauren Cikara

Director, K-12 Initiatives

Lauren has spent her entire career advocating for youth and young adult programming in K-12 education, higher education, and community spaces. Most recently, she worked for the Colorado School of Public Health School recruiting schools to participate in the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS), Colorado’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), and Smart Source. In this role, Lauren supported schools in administering the surveys and provided technical support to schools and community partners as they navigated using results to inform school and adolescent health work across Colorado. She is a strong advocate for LGBTQ+ inclusive school board policies and ensures the work she is a part of has an equitable and intersectional lens. Lauren’s background is in student leadership, health education and equity, policy and advocacy, and equity and inclusion.

Contact Lauren

Amy Gatto

Higher Ed Mental Health
Public Health Policy

Amy Gatto

Director, Research & Evaluation

Amy Gatto

Amy Gatto

Director, Research & Evaluation

Amy is interested in the relationship between health and education. Blending together her experiences as a former high school teacher, higher education health educator, and young adult health researcher, she has found a niche in working to improve adolescent and young adult mental health. Amy is a doctoral candidate at the University of South Florida in the College of Public Health, holds a Master in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services from Elon University.

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Ashley Hill

K-12 Mental Health

Ashley Hill

Senior Manager, K-12 Partnerships

Ashley Hill

Ashley Hill

Senior Manager, K-12 Partnerships

Ashley Hill is a human development professional with national and international experience building social and emotional competencies in adults, youth, and organizational processes. Her expertise lies in facilitating safe physical and emotional learning spaces by building cultural and self awareness that lead to the examination of implicit biases. She is joyful trainer of youth and adults in a range of content including sexual and behavioral health. She is most proud of her work designing partnerships, programs, and training content that moves youth serving organizations forward for Black, brown, and LGBTQ youth. At Active Minds, Ashley is responsible for developing and implementing strategies to strengthen and scale the nationwide impact of the Active Minds’ K-12 network; develops outreach strategies and partnerships between Active Minds and K-12 organizations, specifically supporting adult stakeholders (i.e. educators, parents, caregivers, etc.) in districts, schools, and national associations.

Contact Ashley

Annie Hobson

K-12 Mental Health

Annie Hobson

Senior Manager, K-12 Student Leadership

Annie Hobson

Annie Hobson

Senior Manager, K-12 Student Leadership

Annie Hobson (she/her) is no stranger to youth development. She has dedicated her entire career to youth programming, youth leadership, K-12 social-emotional learning, and community and human services. In her previous role, Annie served as the Youth Services Manager for the City of Rockford, IL-Mayor’s Office-Family Peace Center where she developed and implemented inclusive programs for youth survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Hobson graduated from Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and a Master’s Degree in Human Services from Capella University. At Active Minds, Annie is responsible for developing and implementing strategies to strengthen and scale the nationwide impact of the Active Minds’ K-12 network; develops and implements student-led initiatives where they can advocate for and support school-based mental health initiatives and programming.
Markie Pasternak

Active Minds Students
Higher Ed Mental Health
Healthy Campus Award

Markie Pasternak

Senior Manager, Higher Education

Markie Pasternak

Markie Pasternak

Senior Manager, Higher Education

Markie oversees Active Minds’ work in higher education, focusing on mental health support for college and university students, staff, and faculty. Markie is originally from Green Bay, Wisconsin, and received her bachelor’s in psychology from Marquette University. During her time at Marquette, Markie served as the Active Minds’ chapter president and was the president of the Student Advisory Committee from 2015 to 2016. Markie received her Master’s of Science in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Indiana University-Bloomington. Before joining the Active Minds Staff, Markie worked at Auburn University focusing on mental health programming and peer health education, and was the co-advisor for the campus’s Active Minds chapter.

 

Contact Markie

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Headshots of the 2022-23 Student Advisory Committee with text below reading

Looking for a young adult voice on mental health?

The Active Minds Student Advisory Committee can speak on topics such as mental health on high school and college campuses, therapy and medication, mental illness, and more. A full list of our SAC students can be found here, and for more information or to get in touch with a student, please contact the Active Minds Communications Team.

 

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About Active Minds

Active Minds is the nation’s premier nonprofit organization supporting mental health awareness and education for students. Through award-winning programs and services, Active Minds is empowering a new generation to change the conversation about mental health.