The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

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The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Are You Listening?


From Oct. 24-28, Loyola’s Active Minds Club held a weeklong event called #IWillListen to raise awareness about mental health illnesses and to promote positive mental health. In cooperation with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Active Minds had tables outside of Boulder and on the Quad promoting the club and mental health awareness, and offering information about resources on and off campus.

During the #IWillListen week, there were several activities taking place throughout campus. On Monday, members of Active Minds had a table outside Boulder where they asked students, professors, and members of the Loyola community to sign a #IWillListen pledge. Signing this pledge was a promise to always listen to those who are trying to speak out about mental health and encourage education about the various illnesses and diseases that exist. There was also a #IWillListen poster for photo opportunities.

On Tuesday, there was a screening of “Mean Girls” in the library auditorium. After the film, Active Minds led a discussion centered around mental health issues found in the movie and how they relate to issues present on Loyola’s campus.

On Wednesday, there were free stress balls as well as other “wellness” giveaways and yoga. On Thursday, volunteers from NAMI came and presented a discussion on mental health called “In Our Own Voices.”  The two volunteers, Hannah and Phil, spoke out about their own personal stories with mental illness and how it has affected their own lives. The presentation included a video created by NAMI in which several other people shared their experiences with mental health.

The video consisted of several topics including dark days, acceptance, treatment, coping skills, successes, hopes, and dreams. After each section of the video played, Hannah and Phil would share their own stories and open the floor up to any questions the audience had.

Experiencing this presentation firsthand not only taught me a lot about mental illness and how people struggle every day to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but also allowed me to listen to two brave volunteers who told their stories and made the presentation more powerful and personal.

To end the week, Active Minds held a “Day without Headphones” campaign where students were encouraged to take a break from headphones and earphones while walking to and from class, allowing them to be present and listen. They gave out stickers as well as resource information about places/ people to contact for anything regarding mental health.

“I Will Listen Week has been a great opportunity for our chapter of Active Minds,” junior and Active Minds president Dana Sauro said. “NAMI personally approached us about having this campaign on our campus. I Will Listen week, is something that so simply puts into words the kind of life I try to lead, especially as the president of Active Minds. Sometimes, people just need someone to listen to them and let them know that they aren’t alone in their struggles. To me, that is what I Will Listen Week has epitomized throughout our week of events.”

The members of Active Minds did a wonderful job stressing how important it is for a community to come together to learn and understand mental health. Due to the fact that so many people are affected by mental health illnesses, whether it be directly or indirectly, we are all responsible for being present as a community to listen and grow together.

Active Minds is a student-led group that gives voice to those on college campuses in relation to mental health issues. They aim to erase the stigma that is associated with mental illness, promote positive mental health, and educate others about mental health and disorders and raising awareness. One of their biggest goals this week was to educate students about the resources that are available to them both on and off campus.

Students and all members of the community should be aware of the various resources offered at Loyola, as well as those offered through NAMI. On campus there is the Office of Student Support and Wellness Promotion, the Counseling Center, Disability Support Services, and several campus organizations similar to Active Minds, just to name a few.

NAMI is a nonprofit organization that is “dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.” They aim to educate, advocate, listen, and lead as a resource for all who have suffered through mental illnesses as well as friends and family who have also been affected.

NAMI also provides services through their office in Baltimore, a crisis text line, the Baltimore City and Referral Information Line, and the National Suicide Prevention Line. This week has shown the Loyola community that someone should never be alone or feel alone, and that someone will always be there to listen.

If you are interested in joining Active Minds, the club meets bi-weekly on Mondays at 8:30pm in the Reading Room.

If you are interested in finding out more about health services offered at Loyola, follow this link:

If you are interested in learning more about NAMI and what they do, follow this link:


Feature Image: Ky Photo, Courtesy of Flickr

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