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Open Conversation: Student-led group highlights mental health at Baylor

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Posted at 9:00 PM, Aug 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-24 11:00:42-04

WACO, Texas — Students spend the first few weeks of college looking for clubs or groups to join which reflect their interests.

For Madison Pyles, it was a group called "Active Minds" she discovered during last year's Late Night event. The group focuses on raising mental health awareness.

"We are all about not just encouraging people to reach out with mental health, but also just about exploring the mental health community whether it be resources or careers," Pyles told 25 News.

She said mental health played a big role on her childhood and now she's dedicated to helping others.

"I lost someone to suicide when I was in the 8th grade. Then I also had a trauma at my school, I was in a school shooting," she said. "Mental health has always been a part of my education, always a part of something I am seeking out for every school I go to."

"Active Minds" is now filling that role for her as she enters her second year in the club. She also serves as their Secretary.

The group meet every other Tuesday and offers a safe space for college students.

"College is just such a different phase of life," group Treasurer Felise Bressler said. "It can be super scary and super intimidating to be away from home, try to find new friends, find classes, classes are more difficult and it can be super overwhelming."

Each week the group breaks down different topics and mental health disorders. They also share resources for anyone who might be struggling.

"We don't know who's struggling with mental health disorders," President Nicole Wire said. "A lot of people struggle by themselves with it. So part of all of our meetings is to let them know they're not alone. There's help and support like us in the group, but also professional help out there."

The girls said it can be difficult to reach out for professional help, but starting with a small group is a good way to begin the mental health journey.

"It's definitely more relatable, especially with the pandemic," Bressler said. "Most of us can relate to the pandemic and with school and social aspect, whereas I'm not sure different adults or counselors have experienced that the same way we have."0

"Active Minds" will be at Baylor's Late Night event on Friday for any student interested in signing up.