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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

September 22, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

News

Active Minds thinks of the holidays

Students braved the cold and wind Saturday morning to participate in the Thanksgiving Turkey Egg Hunt, sponsored by Active Minds, a student-run mental health advocacy group.

The Thanksgiving-themed scavenger hunt began at 11:30 a.m. in Williams Hall. Thirty students attended the event, and Active Minds raised about $90, according to co-president Jared Wolf.

For $3 per person, personalized eggs — bearing the seeker’s name — were hidden throughout the second floor. The eggs were personalized with mental health–reminder notes, jokes and candy. Each person had five eggs with his or her name on it, and once all five eggs were found, the seeker could enter into a raffle for a mystery prize.

All proceeds from the Egg Hunt went to the group’s outreach events, such as De-stress Fest, for students before finals week; the printing of The Mirror, the group’s new literary magazine; and goals to raise funds for the national Active Minds organization, Wolf said.

Wolf said the organization wants to change the conversation surrounding mental health — an important first step in the fight for mental wellness.

“What we want to do is create a space for informed discussion about the mental health issues that people face on a day-to-day basis,” he said. “If that conversation isn’t happening, then people aren’t getting the treatment that they need.”

The idea for the turkey egg hunt came from the fundraising team of Active Minds. Wolf said the group wanted to sponsor a broader event to get more students involved.

Member Joey Heiland said he got involved through his freshman-year roommate and has since been an active member because mental health affects everyone.

“It’s a cliché, but everyone has mental health,” Heiland said. “Just because everyone isn’t aware of it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not important or that it doesn’t impact everyone every day.”

Ivy Miller, member of the fundraising committee, said she started attending Speak Your Mind panels as a freshman and that group members encouraged her to become more involved. During SYM panels, group members share personal stories about their struggles with mental health and how they overcame those obstacles.

“People were so non-judgmental,” Miller said. “They were just so accepting and welcoming, so I just started going. This year, I wanted to get more involved and heard of the fundraising committee, which helped pull off this event.”

Miller said Active Minds is relevant to students and tries to engage in conversation with the campus community.

“One in four college students has a diagnosable mental illness,” she said. “That doesn’t count anybody else who might be borderline, yet no one talks about it. You can talk about how you broke your ankle, but you can’t talk about your anxiety. There’s just a huge stigma, and Active Minds starts the conversation.”