Hi! My name is Jon Delperdang and I am apart of Active Minds at the University of Minnesota. I am majoring in political science and philosophy. I just got involved with Active Minds this semester, but have been apart of Mindfulness for Students for three years, which works to provide students with events to de-stress and promote mental wellness…so my passion for promoting mental health goes back three years. I recently got interested in bringing Send Silence Packing to the University of Minnesota from a social justice retreat focusing on mental health. I went with the other organizers of the event. I also get motivation from my own health story. I just recently went to psychotherapy counseling for the first time last month and have uncovered from those sessions suicidal thoughts, social anxiety and other issues stemming from negative self-talk and the large amount of pain I experienced growing up as an outside and person with acne in middle school and high school.
In response to Danielle:
1. What were your reactions to Send Silence Packing?
My reaction to SSP was both immense sadness for the deaths of students and awe to the power of seeing the backpacks and knowing it will impact everyone who comes by the display.
2. What is a piece of advice you would give another Active Minds chapter?
One piece of advice I would give to other Active Minds chapters is to partner with other campus groups. Sometimes it is hard to get people to events, but it is a lot easier if you have a lot of partnering organizers.
3. What do you want to do as a profession?
As a profession I am planning to teach meditation as a Buddhist monk and combine that with psychotherapy, both helping people get mentally healthy and then helping them maintain their health on their own.
Jon’s questions for the next group:
1. What motivates you to promote mental health?
2. What was the most impactful to you about your Send Silence Packing event?
3. How do you plan to promote mental health in the future?
Kayla Kelsey, Sophomore
I became involved in Active Minds through a social justice leadership retreat that is hosted annually by housing and residential life. This year’s theme for the retreat was mental health and planning a mental health awareness day on campus, including the send silence pacing display. Mental health awareness s important to me because it affects everyone.
In response to Katy:
1. How has today made you feel?
Today has made me feel amazing, it’s so great to see all of the support on campus!
2. What’s the most inspirational story you’ve heard today?
I haven’t had a chance to hear many stories yet, but I was extremely inspired by the spoken word performances that we had at 12:30. They were wonderful!
3. What is your major and what do you intend to do with it?
My majors are psychology and youth studies and I have no idea what I am going to do other than I want to work with youth, primarily under represented youth, maybe through after school programming and non-profits.
Kayla’s questions for the next group:
- What are your thoughts about how today has gone so far?
- Are you involved in Active Minds, if not what student groups on campus are you involved in?
- What is your major and future plans?
Will Menzel, Senior
Hey! I’m Will Menzel. I’m the financial and technical officer of Active Minds at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. I am a senior majoring in biochemistry with a chemistry minor. I became involved with Active Minds when I saw a sign for a student group that dealt with mental health and illness. I went to a meeting and liked that the group talked about mental health and had outreach events for the whole campus. I lost my mom to suicide three years ago and was surprised that some people I talked to were uncomfortable when they heard about how she died. I am proud to be a part of a group that “starts the conversation about mental health.”
In response to Susie:
1. How well has your campus received Send Silence Packing?
The SSP display was awesome and we had an amazing turnout! On a big campus, it’s hard to have good attendance at events- having it outside our student center was vital!
2. How and why did you get involved with Active Minds?
3. What events would you suggest to a new club? (How do you get more members?)
Watching mental health documentaries is a great icebreaker at the beginning of the school year. We also have an art night where people can paint on a blank canvas what they think mental health looks like. It’s great for people who are more comfortable drawing than talking.
Will’s questions for the next group:
- How do you attract and keep new members?
- What’s the coolest event you have hosted?
- Do you have any cool digital tools (website tricks, etc.) that you use?