Student Organization Feature: Active Minds

Active minds helps spread mental health awareness

Laura Thevaos, Contributing Writer

Active Minds is a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising mental health awareness, especially among young adults, through dialogue and interaction at UTSA. The organization was founded by Alison Malmon in 2003 after her older brother Brian died by suicide in 2000. Malmon recognized that Brian’s story is the story of thousands of young people who suffer in silence. 

Active Minds started a chapter at UTSA six years ago. Their mission is to empower college students to speak openly about mental health, to educate others and break stigmas related to mental health issues. Active Minds is a student initiative that supports emotional wellness by increasing awareness, planning events on campus, promoting access to campus helping services and communicating with peers. 

Active Minds is also working to partner with local high schools to raise awareness about mental health among high school students. Since it can be challenging to be a young adult transitioning into college, they want to reach out to an even younger audience. Active Minds recently partnered with Roosevelt High School here in San Antonio and is opening up a new office position to take up that initiative. 

Devante Woods, a psychology major and officer with Active Minds, discussed more in-depth about what it is like being a part of this organization.

“I have got to learn about so many new topic[s] and new perspectives. I[t] has been a great experience getting to know so many people with different backgrounds and their mental health struggles. So far, my favorite experience with Active Minds was their domestic violence meeting, where we learned more about domestic violence, how it affects so many people and that domestic violence affects men as well as women,” Woods said. 

Woods explained what some of the officer positions do.

“Active Minds is a network whose goal [is] to reach out to as many students as they can. There are different officer positions like fundraising chair, secretary, social media chair, president and vice president, who acts as a right hand. There [are] other positions that help Active Minds to function as [an] organization and to work towards their mission of raise[ing] awareness. I am currently an officer as fundraising chair, but next semester I have been asked to be … vice president,” Woods said. 

Woods explained what Active Minds does, which includes events students can attend to stay connected.

“We have meeting topics each semester that we ask our members to come up with. This semester our topics were: crisis intervention, suicide intervention, sexual health, personality disorders and domestic violence. We have weekly meetings at 7:00 p.m. Tuesdays on Zoom. There are also socials, in-person events and team building activities that we also host throughout the semester,” Woods said. 

Woods also explained Active Minds’ mission and why students should consider joining. 

“Our mission is to help students get involved in their community by starting conversations about mental health. When you are silent, that can lead to even greater depression and worsen other symptoms. This is a place where you can be comfortable and break mental health stigma. It is such a great community-building experience, where our goal is to spread understanding. It is [a] place to help you have a better life and be part of a team, where you’re growing with other students within such a healthy community. Here we break the stigmas about talking about topics that aren’t usually discussed. We would love to have you,” Woods said. 

There are several different channels to connect with Active Minds. You can find Active Minds on RowdyLink and on GroupMe at ActiveMinds UTSA and on Instagram at activeminds@utsa.