Let's Talk: Growth through grief

By The Beacon | January 20, 2016 4:42pm

By: Logan Crabtree |


Hello UP, Logan, Active Mind’s co-president, here. In this “Let’s Talk” I would like to share my story with you, but I would also like to use it to talk about Active Minds: where we’ve come from and what we still hope to accomplish.

As many of you know Jesse and I founded this chapter of Active Minds following the suicide of our friend Mike. I have lost people in my life before, I lost my father to a brain aneurism when I was seven, and my uncle to cancer when I was 14. While I had dealt with grief in my life before, losing Mike was different. My dad and my uncle didn’t choose death, they were taken, and there’s some comfort in knowing that if a person could still be here with you, they would.

Mike chose his death, and that brought with it a kind of grief I had never experienced before, it was an angry, indignant grief, one that demanded action. Active Minds is what came out of that need for action. Our mission was, and continues to be, to shift the culture around mental health, to generate open and honest discussions about what needed to be done to address these rising needs in the community. It is a mission I feel we have largely succeeded at.

Our first semester was not without its hardships. We were devastated by the news of Conner Hall’s suicide. I cannot speak for anyone else, but for me his death felt like a personal failure. I spent weeks questioning and reviewing every event, article and Facebook post we had made — what else could we have done? Why did this happen? What else can we do?

These and so many other questions circled through my head on an endless cycle. I wish I could say that there was some eureka moment, where everything clicked and I made my peace with Conner’s suicide.

Unfortunately, in my experience, that’s not how life works. As I’ve learned repeatedly in life, grief never really goes away, but we learn to move forward. We are planning a memorial event in March, for Conner, Michael and the 1,100 students who lose their lives each year to suicide.

As we move forward and continue our work we thought it would be a good idea to let the community know what other projects and events we will be working on this semester. The first of these is Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Our planning committee is still working hard to finalize the details of the event, so I can't reveal those, but the week as a whole will be dedicated to spreading awareness about the rates, symptoms and effects of eating disorders, as well as publicizing resources available to those suffering from eating disorders.

Like most clubs and nonprofits, Active Minds has a fundraising component and we worked very hard to make the fundraiser just that, fun. I am pleased to announce that we will be partnering with Pilots After Dark to host a battle of the bands! There will be food, raffles and prizes for the top spots so get out your instruments (air guitar and other air-based instruments are totally acceptable), get some friends together and start practicing! This event is slated to take place in April so you have plenty of time to perfect your set list.

The final event I want to share with you all is a follow up to the incredibly successful “Let's Talk” event we had last spring. We, in partnership with Campus Ministry and the Health

Center will be hosting a second “Let's Talk” event on March 15 at 7 p.m. in the Mehling Ballroom.

The theme of this event is Words of Mercy, and like last year we will be asking you, the UP community, for insights and feedback regarding mental health services, and the culture on campus. The data we gathered from last year’s event was invaluable and actually led to various personnel and policy changes, so mark your calendars and we hope to see you there!

Logan Crabtree is a senior psychology major and can be reached at crabtree16@up.edu. Logan is co-president of Active Minds, a group on campus dedicated to educating our community about mental health and demonstrating that people are not alone in their mental health struggles.





Mental Health Resources:

UP Health and Counseling Center: 503-943-7134

Multnomah Mental Health Crisis Line: 503-988-4888

Active Minds: activemindsup@gmail.com or facebook.com/activemindsatup