Student organization Active Minds fights against finals week stressors

Emily France uses color pencils to color during a destress activity. 

The Active Minds event welcomed Kent students, staff and faculty to Bowman Hall on Dec. 2. for its meditation event.

The hour-long event briefly included a 15 minute meditation with the Director of Kent State Wellness Melissa Celko, followed by self care tips and an adult coloring book session.

Dalia Wilkoff, freshman human development and family studies major, attended her first Active Minds event at the Scare Away Stigma Halloween. She quickly wanted to be on the e-board after her first encounter with the group.

“I have struggled with mental health myself,” Wilkoff said. “You never know who’s struggling mentally so you should always be kind to people.”

She said she likes how this organization gives students events where people are able to openly discuss their challenges.

Erin Shultz, freshman speech pathology major, was involved in her high school’s mental health club. Shultz described the organization as the first mental health group on campus that provides informational events.

She said she wants people to understand mental health awareness is something everyone should be involved in.

“It’s OK to struggle with mental health,” Shultz said. “Mental health is something everyone has. It’s important for anyone to come and get educated on it for themselves and their friends.”

Celko brought two mediation programs to Kent. This includes the 75-minute Koru Mindfulness curriculum, as well as the campus drop-in mediation. She was asked by the president of the organization, Kayla Marker, to help out at the event.  

Celko described herself as someone who is supportive of students well-being.

“This time of the year is not only stressful because it’s the end of the semester, but also the holidays and the transition back home can be added stress onto students,” she said. 

Celko supports meditation as a way to treat mental health because it’s free, improves the immune system, reduces stress and offers many other benefits.

“It’s free. I don’t have to wear anything special,” she said. “I don’t have to go anywhere special. All I need is my breath.”

Celko said Active Minds invites people to bring awareness and discuss mental health.

“Students can come together [to] talk about the challenges and reduce stigmas,” Celko said. “It’s OK to have stress and mental health challenges. Active Minds helps with bringing that comfort.”

Kent State welcomed its Active Minds chapter on campus in spring 2019 to help bring awareness to support mental health and education for students. The organization plans events that can connect to wide ranges of people such as the Scare Away Stigma Halloween party and the suicide prevention training. 

Emily France, senior psychology major, focuses on advertisement and promotion of events as the organization’s recruitment chair.

France said the organization’s main purpose is to change the conversation about mental health by using events as a learning option. 

“There’s a lot of bad stigmas about mental health,” she said. “We all stand together to make it a more knowledgeable topic.”

France said Active Minds aims to continuously plan events like this to bring awareness about the organization and its cause.

“A lot of people don’t know who we are since we’re so new,” she said. “There’s a lot of good topics we go over, so it would be great to get more people at the events.”

Contact Celetre Jones at [email protected].