With new student group Active Minds, Lukus Becker ‘19 is working to start the conversation about mental health on campus.
In 2017, then-junior Lukus Becker attended a talk sponsored by the Counseling Center, where Alison Malman, founder of non-profit organization Active Minds, talked about her brother’s suicide in 2000. The tragedy inspired Malman to start the group dedicated to combat the stigma around mental illness among college students.
The message resonated with Becker, who has dealt with mental health issues himself and has had several friends confide their own struggles with anxiety and depression.
“College is a huge transition,” says Becker, a psychobiology major. “A lot of my friends were struggling and felt they had to hide it.”
After talking with Malman, Becker was determined to start an Active Minds chapter at UC. At the first meeting in late 2017, more than 40 students expressed interest. Over the past three semesters, the group has hosted events to get the UC community talking about suicide prevention, gender and sexuality issues, and stress-management techniques.
One of their most popular projects put positive thinking on full display. In February 2018, group members wrote inspiring messages on hundreds of Post-It notes, filling the Community Board in White Hall and placing the notes in unexpected places around campus, like restroom stalls and library study carrels.
While the messages are simple (sentiments like “you are enough” and “you matter”), Becker says he’s heard from dozens of students who were personally—and positively—impacted by the notes.
“Sometimes knowing someone cares about you makes all the difference.”
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