Student Group at UMass Amherst to ‘Walk Off Stigma’ of Mental Illness on April 13

AMHERST, Mass. – Active Minds, a student organization at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is conducting its second annual “Walk Off Stigma” on Sunday, April 13 at 1 p.m. to promote open discussion of mental health issues and reduce stereotypes about mental illness.

Through public awareness campaigns, Active Minds hopes to facilitate conversation on college campuses that creates a safe, open, non-shameful environment for mental illness discussion.

The “Walk Off Stigma” event starts outside Berkshire Dining Commons. The walk around the UMass Amherst campus and will include several different events all targeted towards reducing stigma, as well as providing students with a fun and stress-free afternoon. Representatives from UMass Amherst’s Center for Counseling and Psychological Health will be lining the walk with activities and advice as a means of bringing awareness to mental health services available on campus. Another activity will be outdoor yoga, which fosters the important connection between physical health and mental health. As participants continue their promenade through campus, they will be directed toward a path of bubble-wrap with stigmatizing words written on it, allowing participants to symbolically eliminate stigma. Ultimately, participants will arrive at the final station where there will be raffles, stress-ball making, live music and poetry.

The Walk Off Stigma provides participants with tools for discussing mental health as well as for dealing with stress, a leading cause of mental health issues. Students of all majors are welcome to attend the event, which is free.