Today’s college students and young professionals are often referred to as the “anxious generation,” according to Active Minds, the nation’s premier non-profit organization supporting mental health awareness and education for young adults.
It’s not surprising when you consider they’re the first generation of students to transition from in-person learning to e-learning, back to in-person learning, all in the course of three years. Trying to anticipate and navigate the unknown has taken a toll on their mental health.
Although there are plenty of online mental health resources, Bradley’s student-led chapter of Active Minds provides another campus resource. “We want to expand mental health awareness and support along with helping students develop coping mechanisms to utilize when they need help,” said senior management and leadership major Gabi Necastro ’24, chapter president.
“I grew up in a conservative environment, where you were essentially told to keep your mental and emotional problems to yourself. If it wasn’t a problem you could physically see, it didn’t exist. When I came to Bradley, I found a community that allowed me to confide with others in a safe environment.”
The group has regular meetings where they practice self-care, coping mechanisms, mental health education, stress management and more.
“Our meetings are nonjudgmental, open spaces for all. We support the mental health of all students and encourage inclusivity in all we do.”
In addition to the biweekly meetings, Active Minds has advocated for student mental health days without academic penalty by collecting signatures from students. They’ve been working with the Office of Inclusive Excellence to get two mental health days a month.
“Our petition for student mental health days is to protect students’ mental health and privacy,” added Necastro about the group’s ongoing efforts. If a student decides to take a mental health day, they don’t have to go into a detailed explanation about the situation to their professor.
“This position is not meant to excuse students from work that’s due that day, and we’ve made it quite clear to students the work would still need to be done. However, the professor is required to treat the work submitted as though the individual was in class and does not penalize them for their absence in any way.”
Bradley’s Director of Counseling Deborah Montgomery-Coon, who serves as a resource for Active Minds, said she admires the efforts of the student-led group to “reduce the stigma around mental health issues and provide a safe space for them to share their stories.”
“My goal with Active Minds is to create a more comprehensive peer network that is inclusive and safe for students who need support,” Necastro explained.
For more information about Active Minds, visit their organization page
If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 988 or start an online chat.
This article was originally published at bradley.edu.