Active Minds seeks to break stigma surrounding mental illness


Paul Hyatt

The Active Minds club at Simpson College exists to help break the stigma against mental health.

by Paul Hyatt, Feature Editor

According to the Mayo Clinic, up to 44% of college students reported having symptoms of depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, due to stigma and misunderstanding revolving around mental health, many students do not get the help that they need. 

The Active Minds club at Simpson College exists to help break this stigma and create pathways for students to seek help for mental illness.  

Active Minds meets bi-weekly on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. in Carse 173. These meetings focus on educating students about mental health. This includes learning about mental health disorders, coping mechanisms, resources to get help, how to help a friend and many other topics that are beneficial for those struggling with mental health.  

The club’s president, Emma Thul, has personally benefited from the club’s presence and invites other students to come out and see what the club can do for them.  

“My freshman year, I started experiencing mental health symptoms and wanted to find a community who I could lean on for support. I joined as a general member and have been in the organization ever since,” Thul said. “I recommend students consider getting involved as mental illness is a huge factor in the college student demographic, and is only on the rise. Our organization is focused on educating and bringing awareness on mental illness… and ultimately a source of support for those struggling by providing a sense of community.” 

Breanna Ellis, the club’s vice president, wants to let everyone know that this club is beneficial and open to everyone on campus.  

“I think it’s a great club for everyone to get involved in,” Ellis said. “You don’t have to know a lot about mental health to join either, because we are focusing on educating members and others on campus about mental health and mental health advocacy so if it’s something you’re interested in you should definitely join.”

To become involved in Active Minds, students can contact Emma Thul to be added to the email list. This will give everyone updates on when meeting times are and events that will be held. Students can also follow the club’s Instagram at @simpcoactiveminds. Active Minds is also planning out putting flyers with QR codes that will link to a sign up for the email list.  

While Active Minds’ presence on campus has dwindled in the recent past, Thul, Ellis and everyone else involved in the club are working to restore the club.  

“During COVID, the group kind of struggled to stay afloat and last year a few friends and I met with counseling services to get the organization started again,” Thul said. “We are really in a transitionary period right now as we are dealing with advisor changes and an all new executive team. We are working on some small-scale things this semester, but hope to have some bigger events next.” 

For those wanting to learn more about mental illness to better their own life or the lives of those they care about, Active Minds hopes to provide a helpful avenue.