Oregon State University club promotes mental health awareness

Cookies and Compliments

Gaby Mudd News Contributor

Active Minds club hands out cookies and compliments on campus

The sun was shining for the first time in days and one thing brings students something positive during dead week—free cookies.

Bustling with activity Monday afternoon, the library quad felt like spring as the trees were starting to bloom, and the OSU Active Minds club passed out 200 free cookies to students to raise awareness about mental health issues during the “Cookies and Compliments” event.

The Active Minds club is a student-run chapter of a national organization that promotes changing the way mental health is perceived on college campuses. The purpose of the event was to raise awareness and address the stigma that surrounds mental health issues, as well as to give students a cookie to brighten their day during dead week according to Rikki Redhead the Active Minds treasurer and event organizer.

“I think that our biggest message is to convey to students that mental health issues are extremely common and we need to be more aware of them,” Redhead said. “There is no shame in asking for help if you need it, and we want more people to know that.”

One in four students suffer from a mental illness according to Redhead. These mental health issues including eating disorders, anxiety and depression, correlate to lower GPAs and higher college dropout rates, and are a leading deterrent in academic success according to the Active Minds national website.

Emily Seiler, an Active Minds member and OSU senior in zoology, talked about the need to have more conversations about mental health issues and the purpose behind passing out cookies to students.

“A lot of times mental health is something we don’t talk about enough,” Seiler said. “It is a good way to get the word out about the club and what we do, and it is a nice thing we can do for students during dead week.”

The cellophane wrapped cookies held a simple blue and green business card with positive messages such as “you are making a difference” on the front and information about the club on the back. Students wore shocked expressions that transformed into smiles as they realized the cookies were free. The club passed out all 200 cookies in just 30 minutes.

One of the recipients of a cookie, Padma Akkaraju, an OSU faculty in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, talked about her own personal support for the event.

“Events like this are very important,” Akkaraju said. “Mental health is a huge issue that needs to be to talked about, and most of the time it is not even in our peripheral vision. We need to keep talking about it until it is at the center of our attention.”

The Active Minds club is always looking for new members and volunteers to help with more events according to Readhead. They meet every other Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Snell Hall 301.

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