Dacey Dunaway, Correspondent
Active Minds, a student organization at Jacksonville State University dedicated to educating college students about mental health, set up a table on the university Quad on Tuesday to sell donuts for $1 to raise money for mental health awareness.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Active Minds used the fundraiser as an opportunity to spread awareness of this issue. According to Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization and creator of the National Sexual Assault Hotline, “Every 73 seconds another American is sexually assaulted.”
Sexual assault is particularly relevant on college campuses, where 13% of all students experience rape or sexual assault, according to RAINN’s website. Women in college are three times more likely than women in general to experience sexual violence.
Victims of sexual assault are at an increased risk for certain mental health challenges, such as PTSD, depression, substance abuse and anxiety.
“We’re out here today to bring awareness to mental health,” said Karla Riley, president of Active Minds. “We come up with activities around campus like movie nights and Paint and Chill, and we’re raising money to have more fun activities in the fall.”
“The pandemic got us all in a bad mental state,” she added, explaining the importance of these events.
“We’re here to stop the stigma,” said Kristi Riley, vice president of Active Minds. “Everyone has mental health. We’re doing this stuff, like Paint and Chill, because it has meaning behind it.”
“Painting is a stress reliever,” added Karla Riley. “It helps with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and other illnesses.”
Paint and Chill is one activity of the many hosted by Active Minds and the money garnered through the fundraiser on the Quad will be used to make more events like this happen in the future. The money will also “provide materials, programs, and information related to the mission for college campuses,” according to Julie Nix, an advisor for Active Minds. Nix also serves as the director of JSU’s Counseling and Disability Support Services
Finals Week is quickly approaching for students at Jacksonville State, and Active Minds sold donuts to remind students not to stress too much.
“We chose to sell donuts because it’s a dessert, and the letters in ‘dessert’ also spell ‘de-stress,’” Kristi Riley explained.