OPINION: Your mental health matters to us

By Rachel Mehlman and Sarina Saturn | November 25, 2019 8:25pm
Rachel Mehlman (left), president of Active Minds, and Sarina Saturn (right), chair of the Academic Mental Health Network. Photos provided by Rachel Mehlman and Sarina Saturn. Canva created by Dora Totoian.

Why is mental health so important? We all have it. Just like our physical well-being, our mental health might face some really rough times, too. That is why our Active Minds club motto is: “We all struggle. Let’s struggle together.”

College is tough. School is stressful and difficult; friendships come and go; homesickness is a real thing; loss and tragedy strike; and life simply gets overwhelming. These are all facts of life that are sometimes detrimental to our emotional well-being.

We also recognize that many staff and faculty are struggling, too, with life’s challenges, emotional hardships, grief, and supporting each other and our students.

We also want to convey that if you haven’t caught the blues going around, that’s fine, too! 

Students: You are not alone.

Active Minds is here for you. We are a group that understands and acknowledges the fact that sometimes we may not be able to be the top-notch student or perfect friend that we often feel ultimately defines our success and worth. We know that the amount of stress we, as students, are faced with each day is sometimes too much. We know that there are things that happen that we aren’t sure how to cope with or process. We know that sometimes we need to lean on others in order to get through the day but may not know how to ask for it.

Active Minds is dedicated to helping students navigate the complexities of our mental health and the adversity we face. We hold weekly meetings open to all that are devoted to topics that we believe are relatable to students and allow for conversations that we may not otherwise have. We have various events each semester that are both educational and interactive to offer awareness of resources available. The focus of our club is to be a support system for everyone in the UP community.

Graphic courtesy of Rachel Mehlman. Please click on graphic to view more resources.

Faculty and Staff: You are not alone.

The UP Academic Mental Health Network (AMHN) is designed to address mental health distress through ensuring UP faculty and staff know available resources and referrals to help with mental health concerns. The AMHN is a collaborative effort and is comprised of staff and faculty members across the university to support everyone in our community. Everyone is welcome to join us.

In addition to creating and disseminating informational resources, the AMHN provides formal trainings, educational offerings, and informal support to colleagues. The AMHN strives to provide faculty and staff with the knowledge, skills and confidence to recognize, approach, and refer students and colleagues in crisis to mental health support services.

Collectively, Active Minds and the AMHN have numerous resources, tools and mental health counseling connections here on campus (including our Health and Counseling Center), in the local North Portland area, as well as phone, text and online support services. We are more than happy to help you navigate your options in seeking help. Many of the resources are free, low-cost, or work with most insurance panels. In addition, we are setting up an escort and transportation system so we can dismantle as many barriers are possible.

Please email us to get on our mailing lists to learn more about our meetings and offerings. You do not have to be a mental health expert to provide support to someone in a time of need, and help can come in many different forms.

This has been a particularly difficult semester for many of us who have been affected by the loss of a member of our community. Many have a tendency to suffer alone, but it is so important to recognize the healing powers of social connections and compassion for ourselves and others during difficult times.

We are also always working to bring more light and joy to campus.  We hope to continue to offer workshops on developing coping skills, distress tolerance, and grief and will have our traditional offerings with de-stressing lounge, meditation sessions, dance classes, bubbles, snuggly animals, aromatherapy, art activities, music, comedy night and more!  We welcome your ideas and collaboration.

We also encourage you to try out a bunch of techniques to see what works best for your emotional well-being at this time. We all have our own recipe for feeling better and it may shift. 

Please let’s build community and lean on each other during these difficult times.

In addition to the mental health resources listed on the graphic above, please consider these additional options:




North Portland:


https://portlandpsychotherapyclinic.com/ (North Williams)

https://energymatterspdx.com/ (Ivanhoe location)

Rachel Mehlman is a senior psychology major and the president of Active Minds. The leadership team can be reached at activeminds@up.edu. Sarina Saturn is a psychology professor, advisor of Active Minds, and chair of the Academic Mental Health Network. The AMHN leadership team can be reached at amhn@up.edu