FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 10, 2022
Washington, D.C. – Active Minds, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization working to change the culture around mental health, is proud to announce the recipients of the 2022 Active Minds National Conference Awards.
“The Active Minds National Conference Awards are some of my favorite opportunities to recognize individuals and groups for their dynamic mental health advocacy every year. Active Minds would not be the forward-thinking and impactful organization that it is without the energy and passion that our awardees bring to the conversation in their communities and schools,” said Alison Malmon, founder and executive director of Active Minds. “I’m honored to celebrate their accomplishments and elevate the incredible work they’ve been doing over the past year.”
This year’s award recipients are:
Chapter of the Year: University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Active Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater has been working to deeply engrain mental health awareness, advocacy, and education into the fabric of their school community. They have successfully amplified the conversation around mental health with many programs and outreach events including a tabling event for mental health with lollipops called “Stigma Sucks!”, mental health jeopardy, guest speakers from CultureChange at their weekly meeting, and the creation of two TikToks: one that allows members share their favorite Active Minds memory, and another to highlight how suicide and mental health conditions affect all people. The chapter has partnered with many student-led, university, and community organizations to bring unique perspectives to their work and bring mental health education to communities where it may not exist. The chapter strives for creativity and accessibility in their programming and collaboration efforts which shines through in their astronomic growth over the past year.
Adam Carlson Student Leader of the Year: Amna Mohammed, St. Francis Xavier Secondary School
Amna launched the Active Minds chapter at St. Francis Xavier amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Through her chapter, she has led efforts to advocate, educate, and support her peers, and help her teachers better understand students’ perspectives. This school year, Amna has created many opportunities for her members to engage with the chapter outside of meetings using a program she created called “Monthly Member Creations,” where members can contribute to the Active Minds Xavier community through social media.
Chapter Advisor of the Year: Janie Egan, Temple University
Janie has helped transform Active Minds at Temple University into a positive movement centered around mental wellness rather than mental illness, while also helping to cultivate the chapter’s goals to align with the purpose and mission of the National Active Minds movement. With Janie’s guidance, Temple’s chapter has become a recognized peer resource on campus. The Active Minds student leaders appreciate Janie for playing a pivotal role in their success and growth!
Award for Excellence in High School Mental Health Advocacy: El Camino Real Charter High School
From engaging in discussions about reducing stigma to campus-wide events, the Active Minds at El Camino Real Charter High School has worked hard to support students’ mental health through the 2021-2022 academic year. Through creative programs such as gratitude card writing, small group discussions about mental health, and campus-wide events, this chapter has responded to and supported students’ mental health both in-person and virtually over the past year in ways that were directly responsive to the needs of their peers. The chapter leaders at El Camino Real Charter High have laid the groundwork to create a long-lasting community of change that fosters a safer, healthier high school experience and will help cultivate the next generation of mental health leaders.
Pandemic Response: Colorado State University
Active Minds at Colorado State University put in a lot of thought on how they could best be creative and engaging in the way they use the Zoom platform so that meetings still encouraged conversation and participation. They accomplished this by hosting creative online events, virtual mental health trainings, and socially-distanced positive messaging. One of their favorite events was a virtual Valentine’s Day Gram in which students could use an online form to write valentines to their loved ones that were then personally sent by members of their chapter. Over 350 valentines were sent this year. At a time when 900 students were not allowed to leave their rooms due to a mandatory lockdown, their Active Minds chapter drew uplifting messages such as “Thank you for keeping others safe,” and “We miss you,” on the sidewalks outside of the students’ windows. Students who were part of the quarantine said it was single-handedly the most supported they felt during that difficult time.
Peg’s Foundation Transformational Change Award: Southwestern Oklahoma State University
Active Minds at Southwestern Oklahoma State has worked hard to change the culture around mental health through campus-wide policy advocacy. Their chapter has advocated for several initiatives, including expanding funding for their Campus Counseling Center, integrating mental health resources into new staff and student orientations, and advocating for a more inclusive model of care.
Luke Beischel Chapter Jumpstart Scholarship: Battlefield High School and Louisiana State University, Shreveport
Since their launch in Fall 2021, Active Minds at Battlefield High School have hosted monthly V-A-R® trainings, integrated Active Minds into their first-year orientation, and created a robust Spirit Week program including Mindfulness Monday (wear blue to represent a calm mind and a soothing environment), Tie-Dye Tuesday (wear tie-dye to represent all the colors symbolizing many emotions and all of their values), Wear Green Wednesday (to represent mental health), Toasty Thursday (wear a sweater to represent warmth, safety, and comfort), and Get Up and Go Friday (wear pajamas to represent a comfortable environment going into the weekend).
Luke Beischel Chapter Jumpstart Scholarship: Louisiana State University, Shreveport
Since launching in January 2021, Active Minds at Louisiana State University, Shreveport (LSU) have established “Mental Health Monthly Check-Ins” that involves a partnership between students and the counseling department where they check in with people around campus. They have also provided powerful V-A-R® trainings in honor of Suicide Prevention Month, incorporated Active Minds into Welcome Week, and organized a campus-wide mental health speaking event with a professional speaker.
Sue Cimbricz Spirit Award: Nathan Blanken, University of Maryland, College Park
As a dedicated chapter leader at the University of Maryland, College Park, and through his work on the Active Minds Student Advisory Committee, Nathan has been an invaluable contributor to the Active Minds movement. Throughout the last year, Nathan has reactivated his campus’ chapter of Active Minds (now serving as president) and quickly turned his chapter into a trusted partner for implementing national initiatives, program pilots, and partnerships on campus, such as hosting a V-A-R® tabling event that featured our national partner Kendra Scott and piloting a new curriculum associated with our immersive Behind the Backpacks experience. He advocated for mental health resources to be more widely available on campuses across the University System of Maryland. Nathan has demonstrated his commitment to the broader Active Minds movement by supporting his peers and supporting students across the country.
More information on our awards and full descriptions of the recipients can be found on the Active Minds website.
About Active Minds: Active Minds is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization promoting mental health awareness and education for young adults. Active Minds has a presence at more than 1,000 campuses, schools, communities, and workplaces nationwide, and is powered by a robust Chapter Network, the nationally acclaimed Send Silence Packing® exhibit, inspiring Active Minds Speakers, and our tailored Active Minds @Work initiative. The organization is dedicated to ending the silence and changing the culture around mental health for everyone. To learn more, visit www.activeminds.org.
Contact: Amanda Horn, Active Minds
firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-332-9595 X103