Our Mission Statement:
Student Mental Health Advocates (S.M.H.A) is the only organization at the University of Oregon utilizing the student voice to change the conversation about mental health on campus. We work to increase students’ awareness of mental health and serve as a liaison between students and the mental health community by providing information and resources; encouraging students to seek help as soon as it is needed; and bringing students and staff together through both social and educational events that promote positive mental health.
Student Mental Health Advocates is born:
UO Active Minds began on November 11,2011 and the name served us well, however it came to an end on June 16, 2014 and was rebranded and transformed into the University of Oregon Student Mental Health Advocates. (UO S.M.H.A) Our name officially changed and was updated on July 1, 2014 across all of our outlets. Our past has made us who we are today, and we have not forgotten where we started and how we came to be. Those who came before us had the difficult task of creating a group that could stand the test of time, our founders laid the foundation and the groups that came after them built on top of it. We believe in our mission statement; we believe in our cause; and we changed the name to better reflect our ties with the University of Oregon!
Active Minds (AM) was founded by Alison Malmon when she was a junior at the University of Pennsylvania, following the suicide of her older brother, Brian. After searching unsuccessfully for existing groups that Alison could simply bring to her campus, Alison created her own model and formed what was then known as Open Minds in memory of her brother.
The new non-profit organization, and all of its affiliated campus chapters, was then renamed Active Minds, Inc., at a later time to reflect the progressive nature of this form of student advocacy in the mental health movement. It is because of Alison Malmon that we began a chapter at the University of Oregon, to help others and change the conversation.
At the U of O:
A chapter at the University of Oregon was established during the 2011-2012 school year with great success as the first organization on campus devoted entirely to raising awareness for mental health. However, AM did not continue past June 2012 as several of its executive team had completed their degrees and graduated.
During the Fall of 2013, the plan to bring back Active Minds to the University was put into place by Nicole Wong.
(Active Minds 2011 - 2012 Executive Team)
Active Minds had its first general meeting in January 2013 in the Science Library with its biggest turnout ever! With a renewed vigor, the established executive team continued with its longest-running annual event aptly named, The Awkward Social. With 30 people in attendance, pizza, and self-care kits, Active Minds made its next announcement as they sought to established
its new Executive team for the remainder of Spring 2013!
UO Active Minds is Born!
UO Active Minds was officially recognized by the University of Oregon's Student Government on
February 22, 2013! With two new executives joining the existing team of Ally Perez (Vice President) and Marita Barger (Public Relations in transition), both Adam Elias (Treasurer) and Juan Rivera (Public Relations), under the leadership of Nicole Wong (President) set into motion its annual event "Stomp out the Stigma." In collaboration with the University Counseling and Testing Center, Stomp out the Stigma would be making its annual debut with a twist, during the Spring of 2013!
While being recognized as a new organization UOAM was not funded by the ASUO, all of its Spring 2012 events were funded through donations, fundraisers, and raffles. As the year came to a close, UO Active Minds began its search for new leadership for the upcoming 2013 - 2014 school year.
It's just the Beginning: 2013 - 2014
UO Active Minds opened its application process and held several interviews over several days. Juan Rivera(President) and Adam Elias (Vice President) would be joined by a new group of advocates which would join UO Active Minds on its mission to remove the stigma associated with mental health!
Ryan Slight (Public Relations),
Kimia Amirifar (Administrative Chair),
Sara Van (Operations Chair)
Linda Torres (Treasurer Executive)
Jack Apman (Social Media Executive)
Olivia Granach (UOAM Intern)
Jaden Bales (Marketing Intern)
Our Signature Events
UO Active Minds Annual "Awkward Social!"
"I joined UO Active Minds after I attended their first awkward social. As I sat there surrounded by all these students taking a stand against the stigma associated with mental health, I thought this should be a much bigger event. It should showcase all of the resources on campus, and bring students and staff together in a fun environment in the middle of campus, and demonstrate that we are not alone in this fight!" - Juan Rivera UO Active Minds President 2013
On October 17, 2013 UO Active Minds held its biggest event ever on the EMU East Lawn from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. This event took three months to plan as the new executive team worked from their respective homes across the United States and abroad during the summer of 2013. With this event UO Active Minds established its presence at the University of Oregon. Students and staff welcomed this new organization on campus and we set forth on our path to change the conversation about mental health. On November 17, 2013 UO Active Minds was nominated for chapter of the year, and Juan Rivera was nominated for student of the year. UOAM attended the 10th Annual Ceremony in George Town University in Washington D.C. With Juan winning the award of the Student of the Year UOAM would return back to campus with a new perspective and many new ideas to set forth.
Stomp out the Stigma
Stomp out the stigma is an event which brings to light messages from the
University and its community that answer the question: "What would
you say to a loved one contemplating suicide?" These messages are
collected throughout the year begining with the Awkward Social and
throughout our events. It is part of a display in which all of the
messages will be displayed to the university as a reminder that no one is
truly alone and that there is help.
UO Stress Less: Fall 2013
UO Stress Less began with an idea from UO Active Minds Operations Chair Sara Van. UOAM executives rallied behind the idea of bringing self-care to students as well as promoting on-campus resources. During Dead Week of Fall 2013 the first
#UOStressLess was born, with both Yoga and Mediation being offered to students for FREE! This event occurs on a quarterly basis during Dead Week of each term.
The sponsors vary but UOAM was able to partner with the University Health Center, University Counseling and Testing Center, PE & Rec., University Libraries, and ASUO for Stress Less Winter 2014! It was during winter 2014 that UO Stress Less took off and it began to appear within the administration and other resources on campus. As the student voice, UOAM stood by its mission to create and foster new programing that since its inception is now part of the U of O.
The new team under the leadership of Juan and Adam would revamp UOAM and continue to expand its presence during 2013 - 2014! Eventually, Juan would lead UOAM into a new direction and establish it for future generations of advocates to come as UO SMHA.
UO Active Minds Awkward Social- Juan Rivera President '13
"Be an Advocate,
Be a Friend,
Be a Duck!"
Student Mental Health Advocates
is born: July 1, 2014
With our new name, our new logo and a new team, UO SMHA was ready to tackle the many challenges that lay ahead of us.
The first S.M.H.A team was composed of returning leaders whom would be joined by new advocates!
Juan Rivera - President 2014 to 2015
Linda Torres - Vice President 2014 to 2015
Talyn Streight - Treasurer 2014 to 2015
Jocelyn Stoneking - Administrative Executive 2014 to 2015
Jack Apman - Public Relations 2014 to 2015
Sally Claridge - University of Oregon NAMI On Campus Director 2014 to 2015