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National acclaim arrives for an “amazing” Active Minds chapter as it transforms the way students see mental health issues

The Active Minds group on campus is changing minds, busting myths and winning national attention.

CallMeCrazy flyer
A flyer for last year’s showing of the “Call Me Crazy” film sponsored by the Love is Louder national organization

The two-year-old Jacksonville University chapter of Active Minds (@ActiveMindsJU), which works to “change the conversation about mental health on campus,” has won a top 5-star rating for effectiveness from its Washington, D.C.,-based umbrella organization. It’s also being urged by the national group to apply for the Margaret Clark Morgan Transformational Change Award and to present at the Active Minds National Conference in November.

“We want to help other chapters learn from you in the area of institutional change and sincerely hope that you will consider one or both of these opportunities to be formally recognized for your great work,” the national organization said in a notification to the JU chapter.

This week, Active Minds at JU has hosted daily activities for Suicide Prevention Week, which ends this evening with a candlelight vigil in front of the Kinne Center at 7 p.m.

Dr. Pam Rillstone, professor of Nursing and advisor to the Active Minds JU chapter, takes part in the group’s Love is Louder campaign last year.

“They have been active on campus bringing awareness about mental health issues and trying to dispel the stigma surrounding those who suffer,” said Pam Rillstone, professor of Nursing and advisor to the chapter along with Kyle Fessenden, Outreach Coordinator for JU Counseling Services. “We are always looking for students interested in becoming a part of this amazing group.”

The chapter earned its high rating for, among other things, its collaborations and relationship-building, interactions with the national office and national programming, membership and leadership, and events and activities. Achieving 5-star status means the group receives recognition on the Active Minds, Inc. website, notice at the annual Active Minds National Mental Health on Campus Conference, and first consideration for scholarships and grant opportunities from Active Minds Inc.

activemindsphoto2The 2014-15 officers for JU Active Minds are: President, Clint Demetiez; Vice President, Kattis Jacobsson; Secretary, Alyssa Stubbs; Treasurer, Brittany Bush; and Marketing Coordinator, Gabi Hickman.

The Active Minds chapter at Jacksonville University was started in Fall 2012 by Jairid Pacileo ’14 of Albion, Pa., and a group of other concerned students. Pacileo’s efforts helped him win the President’s Award for Outstanding Leadership at May 2014 Commencement.

Among its many activities last school year, the group hosted a week’s worth of activities during Suicide Prevention Week in September, a showing of the “Call Me Crazy” Lifetime film, and “Light our Night: A Walk Against Sexual Abuse.” It also hosted unique “scream sessions” at the end of the fall and spring semesters to help relieve stress.

Learn more about JU Active Minds at https://www.facebook.com/activemindsju.