New mental health awareness group asks for 15 minutes today

Active Minds, a new student group aimed at increasing mental health awareness, will be sponsoring free alcohol screenings from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today on the second floor of the Student Center.

In addition to the screenings, participants will also be directed to psychologists and clinicians who will be able to interpret drinking habits and discuss alcohol risk.

The event is in observance of tomorrow’s National Alcohol Screening Day.

“This is an opportunity for National Alcohol Screening Day participants to reflect about their own drinking behavior,” said Scott Dotterer, coordinator of the Office of Health Promotion. “It gives them an opportunity to get connected with a mental health professional clinician from the health center to really look at issues about at-risk drinking, signs and symptoms of alcohol problems (and get) referral numbers.”


From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today

Second floor of the Student Center.

The confidential screening takes 15 to 20 minutes and is also open to faculty.

Active Minds, which now has about 15 members, promotes tips for maintaining positive mental health, such as practicing positive thinking, staying connected with others and maintaining proper sleeping, eating and exercise habits, group adviser Sharon Briggs said. The group also focuses on avoiding negative means of reducing stress or anxiety and reducing the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Many people tend to stray away from help because when they hear the term mental health, they automatically think mental illness, Briggs said.

Edith Ababio, junior sports administration major and Active Minds member, said the screenings will benefit students and their friends.

“As they take this test, it will make them more aware of symptoms and signs with their friends and peers to see what to look for if their friend has a possible drinking problem,” Ababio said. “We’re going to have pamphlets and so much information at the table to be able to give them, so if they do know somebody that is at risk or (has a) potential alcohol problem, then they know where to refer them.”

Contact health reporter Nick Walton at [email protected] and social services reporter Tony Lange at [email protected].