Samford University is the first college in the state of Alabama to establish a chapter of Active Minds, a national organization that promotes open discussion of mental health issues. Even before the official recognition, this group of students, faculty and staff organized several successful events designed to promote informed discussion of mental health issues and to combat the misconceptions and stigma that are often associated with mental health problems.
In October, 2009, the chapter organized an educational program, "Changing the Conversation about Mental Health," that featured a diverse panel of mental health experts from pharmacy, psychology, psychiatry and ministry. The panel engaged in conversation and answered questions from members of the Samford community. Last spring, the chapter organized an event, "Extend a Hand to Change the Conversation about Mental Health," in which over 100 students placed their hand prints, names and sentiments of advocacy for those who deal with mental health problems on murals that were later posted around campus. More such events and a website with information and resources are planned for the near future.
Membership in Active Minds is open to all students, faculty and staff. Contact the faculty sponsor, Dr. Jackie Goldstein, in the department of psychology for more information.