Opening a new chapter: Active Minds on campus

By Jamila Cherif




Photo by Jamila Cherif. Vanessa Robichaux helped form a chapter of Active Minds at Delgado, a new student organization which advocates for mental health awareness on campus.


In 2003, Active Minds became integrated as the voice of young adult mental health advocacy nationwide. It was founded by Alison Malmon after the suicide of her oldest brother, Brian Malmon, while he was in college. She realized that few people on her college campus were discussing mental health issues though many of them were suffering. Malmon’s goal was to eradicate the stigma placed on mental illness and to encourage college students to be more open about mental health issues.

Vanessa Robichaux, former president of the Student Government Association, spearheaded the forming of a chapter at Delgado, and Sociology professor Melanie Deffendall serves as faculty adviser. ‘’I am excited we now have an Active Minds of Delgado Community College Chapter, right here on our City Park campus,’’ Robichaux said. She became a passionate mental health advocate after her husband was diagnosed with schizophrenia, so she’s looking forward to helping students learn about available resources to receive better treatment. She would like to change the conversation about mental health on campus and in the community.

Robichaux has a certification in Mental Health First Aid, and she will be participating in an instructor training this November. ‘’I’m hopeful this will allow the Active Minds group to host training and awareness on Mental Health First Aid,’’ she said. Because people struggling with mental health issues don’t often feel comfortable talking about them, Robichaux would like to fight against that barrier and provide support.

To be part of Active Minds, email Vanessa Robichaux at vobric@dcc.edu for more information about the monthly meetings which are usually held in the W.I.S.E Women Center.

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