Last weekend, Ginger and I attended the Active Minds National Conference 2019 (#ActiveMindsCon19) at Georgetown University in Washington, DC! Active Minds is a non-profit organization that supports student mental health through education, research, advocacy, and programming at over 600 colleges and high schools. This year’s conference theme was building a mental health culture. Surrounded by more than 500 students, campus and school professionals, mental health leaders, and government, non-profit, and corporate representatives, we felt right at home and ready to learn.
Here are our takeaways:
- Building a mental health culture is this generation’s social movement. Research shows that a successful social movement requires participation from 3.5% of the population it affects. Out of 20 million college students, we need 700,000 of them to fight together. Let’s get to work!
- Mental health symptoms and diagnoses among students are increasing, but so are help-seeking behaviors, mental health awareness, and psychological flourishing. Students feel intense pressure to perform and succeed. Instead of focusing on accomplishment, we need to help them enhance protective factors in their lives, like satisfying relationships and a sense of meaning and purpose.
- Mental health services provide a large return on investment. In California, every $1 spent on student mental health services produces $7 in four-year institutions and $12 in community colleges!
- It’s crucial for us to widen the net. From the minority students who are less likely to seek mental health care to the students who feel the stigma that still surrounds the counseling center, it’s on us to ensure that our students are supported and never fall through the cracks.
Students, campus and school professionals, mental health leaders, and government, non-profit, and corporate representatives can work together to build a mental health culture. Together, we can eliminate mental health stigma and ensure that our students can access the mental health care they need.
Our team hopes to see you next year at #ActiveMindsCon2020!