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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Department of Health and Human Services
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

Last Updated: 6/22/2012

SAMHSA’s Resource Center to Promote Acceptance,
Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with
Mental Health (ADS Center)


Active Minds
Washington, District of Columbia

Start Date

Brief Description
Active Minds is a student-run program that addresses the stigma surrounding mental illness among college students. Started in 2001 at the University of Pennsylvania, Active Minds has worked to expose and reduce stigma associated with mental illness within increasingly judgmental college environments. Active Minds, Inc., located in Washington, DC, is the national headquarters for all Active Minds on Campus chapters.

Within the last few years the atmospheres of colleges and universities has changed. This change is due in part to an increasingly competitive job market and a subsequent increase in pressure placed on a students academic performance. Mental illnesses abound on campuses across the country, and yet students seek help infrequently, primarily due to the heavy social stigma and pressures applied by their peers. Alison Malmon, a student at the University of Pennsylvania, saw the need to address the stigmas of mental illness at colleges and universities after her older brother, Brian, committed suicide.

Since 2001, Active Minds has grown from a single chapter at its home university into 132 chapters based at colleges and universities,two high schools, and internationally. These chapters support mental health awareness, education, and advocacy designed for students in higher education. Active Minds also serves as a liaison between college students and the mental health community.

Active Minds focuses on increasing students awareness of mental health issues, providing information and resources regarding mental health and mental illness, and encouraging students to seek help as soon as it is needed. So far, the campaign has been successful, receiving great recognition, exposure, and support from within the mental health community.

To obtain further information about Active Minds, you may contact the national headquarters by calling 202-332-9595 or by visiting the Active Minds Web site.

Alison Malmon, Founder and Executive Director,

Jessica Levenson, Chapters Coordinator,


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This Web site was developed under contract with the Office of Consumer Affairs in SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services. The views, opinions, and content provided on this Web site do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of SAMHSA or HHS. The resources listed in this Web site are not all-inclusive and inclusion on this Web site does not constitute an endorsement by SAMHSA or HHS.