October 14, 2019

JKBF Funds Evidence-Based Guidelines through Active Minds to Reduce Stigma, Support Awareness, and Foster Intervention

Since 2010 JKBF has been funding the work of Active Minds, the nation’s premier nonprofit organization supporting mental health awareness and education for students. Focusing on reducing stigma and helping high school and college students know about mental health strategies and resources, Active Minds has grown to more than 450 student-led chapters across the nation in 15 years.

When JKBF learned that research by the RAND Corporation showed that the Active Minds approach of empowering students and decreasing stigma on college campuses increased utilization of mental health services, we wanted to help spread this evidence-based message. Connecting matters. Our 2018 grant to Active Minds funded development of a white paper to outline the elements of this research reported in 2018 in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 

We are pleased to share that the Active Minds Position Statement Recommendations to Shape a Positive Mental Health Climate on College Campuses with and through Peer-to-Peer Networks has been shared across campuses to college administrators, faculty, and health providers. You can find the Position Statement on their LinkedIn page, and their work featured on the NBC Nightly News. Share these links with college students, staff, and administrators who should know about these strategies and approaches and how to get involved.

Active Minds supports chapter creation and wellness strategies, provides training and technical support, circulates the moving Send Silence Packing exhibit, and offers a speakers bureau, all in the interest of enabling peer-to-peer supports on campuses. This past March, for the first time, JKBF attended the Active Minds conference and experienced the energy and commitment of the staff and more than 500 students, faculty, government officials, mental health professionals, and advocates in attendance. Active Minds’ inspiring founder, Alison Malmon and a variety of speakers shared that we each have the opportunity to make a difference, and that our actions have a ripple effect that can help others.

Since one in five students has a mental health disorder, and 50% of us will experience some mental health condition in our lifetimes, we all need to know more about what we can do. And we need to start early–half of all mental illness shows symptoms by the age of 14, three quarters by the age of 24, and on average, 8 to 10 years pass before intervention occurs. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for 10-34 year olds.

One repeated theme surrounding mental health concerns is that, despite caring about others and good intentions, we are not all trained in how to provide mental health supports and sometimes that holds us back. It should not. Active Minds provides resources and training for students such as the #hereforyou campaign and V-A-R (validate-appreciate-refer) method to facilitate students in supporting each other. Their advocacy also helps to bring student perspective and cultural competency to institutional efforts.

We have come far in terms of talking about mental health, seeking supports, and working to prevent suicide, but we know there is a long way to go to reduce stigma, know the signs, and connect people with the resources that will bring them hope and healing. JKBF is honored to partner with Active Minds in keeping these conversations happening with young people across the country, and we are proud to see our grant help to create these best practices tools that will be shared and keep the momentum going.

Connect. It matters. #hereforyou