Hiram College

To Write Love on Her Arms event, sponsored by Active Minds. Spring 2014

Active Minds, a non-profit organization dedicated to mental health awareness, isn’t a fan of the hands off, “hush-hush” approach; it advocates an active, progressive and open approach to tackling the real issues that people don’t always want to get real about. Therefore, it seems fitting that a small, close-knit campus like Hiram College would not only start an Active Minds chapter, but excel.

The Active Minds chapter at Hiram College, which began only a year ago, was awarded the Five Star Chapter Rating, the highest rating a chapter can earn, for excellence in administration, collaboration, communication, membership and leadership, as well as programming and outreach during the 2013-2014 academic year. Some of their programs that helped them earn this rating included Post Secret, To Write Love on Her Arms and LGBTQ Safe Training. They also held their first annual Green Week dedicated to suicide prevention and awareness and the first annual Out of Darkness Walk, which raised more than $6,000 for suicide awareness.

Kevin Feisthamel, director of Counseling, Health and Disability Services at the Julia Church Health Center, advises the group. He praised the Active Minds officers and members for “their strong commitment for promoting mental health awareness on our campus.” Having Active Minds on Hiram’s campus is important, he said, because it builds a strong foundation for noticing, understanding, accepting and promoting mental health awareness as well as encouraging students to speak up and ask for assistance when needed.

He said the group is “very compassionate, dedicated, approachable and supportive” with the ultimate goal of not allowing their fellow students to suffer in silence with mental health issues. The chapter encourages students to embrace the Active Minds motto and “Reach Out and Speak Up” without fear of stigma or being ashamed.

For more information the Active Minds organization, visit their website. For information about Hiram’s chapter or to find out about the free private counseling services offered at Hiram College please contact Feisthamel at feisthamelkp@hiram.edu. Those interested in joining can also contact the President, Taylor Shutler (shutlertm@hiram.edu) or the Vice President Samantha Hughes (hugessm@hiram.edu).