Montclair State University to Host National College Student Mental Health Conference

Speakers include Frank Warren, Brittany Snow, and Celina Gray; John Nash to Receive Founder’s Award November 5-7, 2010

October 29, 2010—Mental health issues that affect college students are the focus of the 7th annual Mental Health on Campus Conference hosted by Montclair State University and sponsored by Active Minds, a national organization that works to promote and raise awareness about college student mental health.

Depression, anxiety, eating disorders and substance abuse are common issues on campus, with suicide the second leading cause of death among college students.

More than 500 college students, staff and experts from around the U.S. are expected to participate in workshops, discussions, and other activities to envision and build a better future for college student mental health. The theme of the conference, to be held from November 5-7, 2010, is Shape a Growing Movement.

In a powerful message about college students who take their lives each year, a “Send Silence Packing” exhibit of 1,100 donated backpacks and personal stories representing the 1,100 college students who commit suicide each year will be on display at the Student Center Quad from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, November 5.

Celina Gray, executive director of the New Jersey Governor’s Council on Mental Health Stigma, will deliver the Friday night keynote address at 7:30 p.m. The only one of its kind in the country, the Council was formed to undertake a comprehensive review of New Jersey’s mental health system and to develop solutions to the obstacles that currently face those with mental illness.

Bestselling author Frank Warren and founder of PostSecret will deliver the keynote address at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 6. Warren is the founder of an ongoing community art project in which people write their secrets anonymously on handmade postcards and mail or email them for posting on line or in the books Warren has published.

On Saturday at 3 p.m., John Nash, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics and subject of the Academy Award-winning film A Beautiful Mind, will be presented with the Founder’s Award for Advocacy and Awareness.

Actress Brittany Snow, who founded the Love is Louder campaign in conjunction with the Jed Foundation and MTV in response to the multiple teenage suicides, will deliver the closing keynote address at 11:15 a.m. on Sunday, November 7.

Both talks by Warren and Snow are free and open to the public.

Workshop topics will cover creative arts and mental health programming, designing and creating mental health educational materials; successful educational campaigns; recruiting members and marketing a student mental health chapter; working with the media and building effective partnerships; collaborating with other groups, organizations or campus entities, achieving long-term change on campus and measuring and assessing outcomes and success.

Active Minds has more than 290 chapters on college and university campuses throughout the U.S. and Canada and works with thousands of student leaders and advocates to decrease the stigma about mental illness and create a positive attitude for discussion of mental health issues.

Montclair State University was chosen as the site of the conference because of the work and dedication of its Active Minds chapter, which has been awarded five-star status.

“We also chose Montclair State because of the demonstrated support from the University’s dedicated Active Minds chapter as well as the university including the Disability Resource Center, the Counseling Center, the Dean of Students and the President’s office,” said Alison Malmon, founder and executive director of Active Minds.

“Montclair State is honored to have been selected as the host chapter for this year’s Active Minds conference,” said Karen L. Pennington, vice president for Student Development and Campus Life. “The University takes very seriously our responsibility to help students manage the many challenges of college life academically, socially, and emotionally. The Active Minds chapter is particularly vital in helping students find the right people to talk to about issues they face or encounter, and working to make sure all students are treated fairly by faculty and administration. “

The conference is free for Montclair State students and staff; $70 for others. Registration is required. For more information, contact Alison Malmon at 202-236-8377 or alison@activeminds.org.

Released: October 29, 2010