Active Minds helps students to de-stress

A pillow fight is one of three activities that took place this week to relieve stress and raise awareness of mental illness during Stress Out Week, hosted by Active Minds, at Baker University.

"The events hopefully help students feel more comfortable and be more aware of mental illness," sophomore Meredith Hodges said. "Stress is perfectly normal and students should know they aren't alone."

Hodges started the Active Minds chapter at Baker University in March. She got the idea to start the program after her father, Tim, mentioned a lack of similar groups.

"I was looking at different student groups on campus and there were none to decrease the stigma of mental illness," Tim Hodges, director of the counseling center, said.

Tim said he had been aware of Active Minds and what they did to promote awareness of mental illnesses. He said he looked at the chapters map and realized nobody in Kansas had a chapter.

"I thought ‘that's weird,'" Mr. Hodges said. "Then I thought, ‘wouldn't it be fun if Baker was the first?'"

Hodges said once her dad mentioned it, she began looking at what she would need to do to start a chapter on Baker's campus. Once the work was complete, the group began planning the events for Stress Out Week.

Hodges ran with idea in less than month had officers and an adviser and was ready to present the idea to Director of Student Life Brett Bruner and Baker University Student Senate.

Once the work was complete, the group began planning events for Stress Out Week.

"It was stressful to plan the events," Hodges said. "We didn't have much time and we wanted everything to go well."

Hodges said the chapter was provided a list of possible activities to choose from for the week. Activities chosen were Recess on Monday, ScreamFest on Wednesday and BYOP Pillow Fight and Movie Night on Friday, which will begin at 8:30 p.m.

"We had a pretty good turnout on Monday," sophomore Megan Reid said.
Reid said the group will begin discussing events for Mental Illness Month in May at its next meeting.

Baker University's Active Minds chapter is the first chapter in Kansas.


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