Active Minds debuts at The Comfort Tent

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Aleah Jarin, Staff Writer

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The Comfort Tent has officially begun at San Diego Mesa College where students can talk to counselors, enjoy music, snacks, and relax and destress before finals week. One addition to The Comfort Tent was Active Minds, a new club beginning in the fall which is dedicated to mental health awareness. The club debuted May 16 at The Comfort Tent and contributed to the theme of relaxation by having students make their own lavender sachets.

Student Health Services nurse practitioner, Laura Milligan, who was onsite with Active Minds, explained, “while [students] fill their bag, we have a few questions we’re asking them…like, what is their level of stress from 1-10? What are some physical manifestations that occur when they are stressed or have anxiety? And then we talk about coping mechanisms.”

Milligan also shared that this activity not only allowed for students to hear valuable information from a nurse practitioner, but it also gave students a chance to connect with each other and share their thoughts surrounding stress. “We’re just trying to destigmatize mental health issues in general and we’re starting with stress because everybody has stress” Milligan said.

Mesa student Michelle Gepshtein, who stopped by The Comfort Tent and participated in the lavender sachet making said, “I’ve used every perk of Mesa many times…[The Comfort Tent] is always beneficial.”

Aside from the lavender sachet making, Active Minds also provided information regarding the club or “chapter” as Mark Malebranche, Student Health Services nurse, shared. Malebranche said, “they call them chapters because [Active Minds] is a national organization that has [different] chapters.” He went on to explain, “we will be the fifth college in San Diego to have an Active Minds chapter.” San Diego State University, California State University San Marcos, University of San Diego, and San Diego City College are the other four colleges who also take part in Active Minds.

A suicide from a college senior boy is what sparked Active Minds; the sister of the senior boy realized that suicide can be preventable if more people started talking openly about it, thus Active Minds was formed to raise awareness. The overall goal of Active Minds is to start the conversation of mental health between students and to, as Malebranche said, “put forth some effort to improve the mental health of our campus and to prevent suicide.”

Stress and mental health is a very serious issue that many college students face, especially if students work and go to school full time. Luckily, services like The Comfort Tent and new services such as Active Minds, are available for students’ needs.


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