Active Minds Passes CAPS Expansion Plenary Resolution

We did it! Active Minds had a great success this past Sunday – we passed a resolution at Plenary that would serve to help expand CAPS! We’re hoping that by passing this resolution, administration will see the importance of CAPS to students’ mental health on campus and thus prioritize CAPS’s funding.

As it stands, CAPS does not have enough resources to meet the demands of students, and often students are going way too long without access to medications or a therapist. Additionally, our resolution will hopefully help complete the 2020 strike demand of getting rid of redirecting mental health emergency calls to Campus Safety before the student reaches a trained counselor!

A successful weekend, in all!

– Natalie

Rock Painting Saturday, April 9th

This Saturday, April 9th, Active Minds will be hosting a rock painting and care package-making event on Founder’s Green from 1:00 to 3:00 PM. Please come paint some rocks, create a care package for yourself or a friend, grab snacks, learn about CAPS and Active Minds, and listen to some Lo-Fi Hip Hop Beats. Paints and brushes will be provided, but feel free to bring your own in case there’s short supply. See you there!


Back to “School Mode”

Students are placed into a variety of different situations going into and coming out of spring break. Finalizing travel plans, flights, Uber rides, finishing essays, getting extensions, peer reviewing, packing, unpacking, driving, caring for family members, conferencing, calling. An extremely difficult transition is the one back to “school-mode,” once spring break has ended and courses pick up immediately where they left out. I drove 6 hours yesterday to get back to Haverford, and I have three written reports and a presentation over the next two weeks that I had to get a start on over break. For many students, myself included, this transition is extremely stressful. Here are some things that I think are important for transitioning back to school:

  1. Make some alone time for yourself (or not). Depending on how your spring break went, you may have had too much time to yourself, or not enough. Take some time to recharge your social battery if you spent all break with others – maybe watch some YouTube in bed or go for a walk solo. Or, not! Catch up with friends you missed over break if you’re craving that social time.
  2. Keep your space clean. One of the worst feelings for me is returning to the stress of school with a messy space. Something that helps ease the stress of returning to school is immediately unpacking, reorganizing, and tidying up if need be.
  3. Plan your week. If you don’t have Notion yet, I’d highly recommend. I often feel as though I need to do everything for the week at once, to get it all out of the way, which is often much more stress and effort than it’s worth – and I end up doing worse work. I use Notion to break up tasks over the week and set to-dos. 

Safe travels with your return trip back to Haverford! Or, see you soon if you’re already there!

– Nat

Valentine’s Tabling

On Friday, February 11th, 2022 Active Minds tabled in the DC Lobby from 11:00-12:00 and from 1:00-2:00. Our give-one, take-one positive message sharing was a success. So many people were excited to receive a kind note from a peer or share their own cheerful message! I got a message from a secret admirer telling me to keep my head up and that I can do tough things. Thank you, whoever that was!

-Natalie Masetti

Story-Sharing Event Recap

Last Friday, Active Minds held its first-ever Sharing Our Stories event, where the club’s leadership read aloud posts from anonymous students about their experiences with mental health on campus. If you’re inspired to submit a reflection on mental health at Haverford, you can do so here, and we’ll add your words to this post! We hope that the Active Minds blog can act as an archive of student mental health experience at Haverford.

Trigger Warning: brief mention of self-harm. This is what your peers said:

“I struggle with social anxiety. Even when I am with close friends, I sometimes don’t know what to say to them. I experience bouts of social anxiety and awkwardness at unexpected moments. I will do the Irish exit when I feel overwhelmed by these emotions. They can make me feel very worthless at times.”

“How do conversations about mental health need to change so that people understand they are deserving of support and care even when they’re not actively in a mental health crisis? Other than therapy and peer-support what do those care options look like?” 

“As someone who is very sensitive to stimulus (loud noises, bright lights, etc.) and has anxiety, parties are not fun. On the weekends (during non-COVID times) my sports team would often pregame together and then go to whatever party was happening on campus. I felt obligated to attend these events, at least sometimes – especially if we were dressing up as a team or something like that. When I would make myself go, it often ended with me having an anxiety attack, showing up in my friends’ apartment, and crying on their couch for a while. Then I’d go back to my room, feeling upset and disconnected from my team, and go to bed. The fact that these events revolve around alcohol and I don’t drink doesn’t help, either.”

“I have official ADS accommodations because of my depression. I am supposed to use that accommodation to make life easier for myself, to create another layer for support for when I’m struggling with my mental health. I rarely, if ever, reach out to professors about my official accommodations, even though I know how much they help me. I think part of this comes from an academic atmosphere (whether here at Haverford or at past schools) that pushed me to get things done at any cost, and to be the student that’s a “pleasure to have in class,” the student that doesn’t need any help and thus, it’s implied, is not a burden on the teacher or professor. I wonder a lot about what aspects of academic norms and environments would have to change for me to not equate see asking for much needed help as being a burden on someone. Is that as simple as changing expectations for attendance and extensions on syllabi? Does a discussion about support need to come from professors, from within peer-groups? I hope that folks think about and actively shift those expectations so people can be comfortable asking for help, and getting support even before moments of crisis.”

“Even as a graduating senior, I still struggle with a lot of imposter syndrome about being at Haverford. I come from a privileged background and no one has ever told me I shouldn’t be here, but I feel like I haven’t contributed enough to campus in the past few years. I know that living with mental illness has stopped me from being as outgoing or as involved as I wish I were. It’s difficult to let go of the regret and the feeling that someone else would have been a better Haverford student than me.”

“I wish Haverford had been more understanding of student stress and wellbeing before the pandemic. I appreciate how most professors have been flexible with deadlines and shifting assignments to meet students’ needs during the pandemic, but I am worried about what will happen once things go back to being somewhat “normal” again. As a first-year student, I remember feeling really stressed about deadlines and assignments, and I didn’t know asking for an extension was a thing. And I was worried that professors wouldn’t take me seriously if my reason for turning in an assignment late was due to stress, not only from assignments but also the other things going on in my life. I hope that we are able to have more open discussions around mental health in the future and that professors will still try to be accommodating after the pandemic, but I am not sure that is what is going to happen. Since we are in an academic space, I think professors and students sometimes fail to see each other as people with other things going on in their lives besides school. We are here to learn and grow as people, but that is hard to do in an environment that feels overwhelming and isolating at times. I hope that we can gain some positives out of the pandemic and be more open about discussing mental health and making accommodations for students in the future to benefit their wellbeing.”

“I’ve always had this feeling of not being good enough socially. It’s something that often gets reinforced at Haverford with how often I see people doing things together while I’m alone.  I know that this is an irrational feeling, but it eats at me constantly and makes me feel lesser until I manage to find something else to think about.”

“One of the most positive things about being at HC is that I have been able to connect with other people who are neurodivergent and/or care a lot about mental health. It is so nice to know that if I’m struggling with something that I have people I can talk to without being judged. I often go off on tangents about things that I find incredibly interesting or amusing, but that most other people would probably not care about, and my friends not only tolerate it, but they engage with me and remember the random things I get excited about. It is so refreshing to be validated instead of seen as weird. I think it helps that many of them do the same thing.”

“I have OCD, and it can be so difficult not to get lost in my thoughts when all my classes are online. Even though I’m on campus this semester, most of the time there’s no reason to leave my dorm, and when I start obsessing and worrying about something there’s no excuse to snap me out of it. It’s difficult to spend so much time alone in my room because it makes my anxiety worse, and then I have more trouble finishing my schoolwork, and then it becomes a really vicious cycle.”

“Virtual learning has made it increasingly difficult to separate spaces associated with stress from those of comfort and home. I don’t think people realize how much compliments and kind words can really mean.”

“As a senior, it’s difficult to process and accept the fact that my last year at Haverford hasn’t been anything like I expected it to be. Most of the time I don’t even let myself think about it, because I’m afraid it will make me even more hopeless. I do know that ambiguous loss is a real thing, on top of all the more tangible loss and grief so many people have experienced. Losing more than a year of our “normal” lives, as messed up as that normal can be, is so destabilizing and sad. I can only hope that society will learn something lasting from all the lessons of the pandemic, and that work and school will be more accessible going forward.”

“I wish Havercrushes was more active because I think we could all really use more positive affirmations right now.”

“I have depression, which sometimes (well, often) gets in the way of my capacity to attend classes and to turn homework in on time. One thing I struggle with a lot is whether to disclose my mental illness with professors, and whether to be honest about taking “mental health days.” If I’m struggling with depression and cannot muster the energy to go to class, I’ll often lie and say that I’m sick, that I have a headache or stomach ache, because it’s still ingrained in me that that’s a more valid reason to not be okay, or that’s a more valid explanation for needing to rest. I’ve even sent emails like this to professors that I know well and that I think would be respectful of a mental health day, which tells me a lot about how little I value my mental health, and how much I fear other people devaluing it. I wonder what messages students can send each other and what professors can send their students so that mental health days become more acceptable and feel like a valid option (?).”

“In their official, legal capacity, CAPS can often only provide support to someone if they are at risk of harm in the present moment. I wonder what other resources, systems, etc. are available or could become available for people to use before and after moments of emergency so the support is more consistent or more long-term.”

“Not having the opportunity for casual, unplanned interactions with other people has disrupted my mental health during COVID. I miss running into people as you’re walking between classes, and sitting with random people you haven’t seen in a while at the Dining Center. Even though I’m lucky to live with great friends this year, not having all those consistent, casual interactions makes the campus feel much smaller and much more isolating than it would be otherwise.”

“I have a lot of trouble focusing and motivating myself, probably because of undiagnosed ADD. Even though I see the signs of ADD in other family members and I relate to friends who have it, it’s so difficult to feel valid without having an official diagnosis. To anyone out there trying to validate and understand their struggles with mental illness/neurodivergence–– it’s not just you. Even when I know that it’s capitalism making me feel like I have to be productive all the time, it’s tough to stop feeling guilty. But I know that I would never judge my friends who have trouble getting work done because of mental health problems. We shouldn’t judge ourselves, either.”

The Participation Problem

by Natalie Masetti

I’m sure most of us have been in this position: settling down in a classroom during shopping week as peers fill in empty seats, listening to voices rapidly hush as the professor walks in and takes their place at the head of the room. Then the professor begins, usually excessively expeditiously, to discuss the syllabus and class expectations. Undoubtedly, a discussion of participation will arise. 

The professor will almost always tell their students that “participation is part of your grade.” They will probably say “you can come talk to me if you have a problem with this.” People who do have problems with participating may not go to the professor, a stranger, and discuss these issues for a variety of reasons: shame, nervousness, etc.

Other issues will pop up as the semester goes on. Perhaps you’re a freshman in a class with many upperclassmen–students who have at least a year of study and practice above you–who will have a plethora of insightful, powerful, and intuitive comments on the discussion. You begin to look at your ideas like a child stares at raw broccoli: with disappointment, suspecting that they could be better but not sure how to make them better, too afraid to taste them and try.

Or perhaps your class has that one student who always has the answer. Following a professor’s question, their hand is immediately in the air, confidence exuding from the five stiff fingers. Your answer knocks around in your brain, and you listen with disappointment as this student says exactly what’s in your head. You resolve yourself to answer the next one, but you find that apathy has taken over: the rapid-hand-raiser will beat you to it every time.

Your confidence may also take a hit: suddenly you’re afraid to speak at all, afraid to answer even simple questions. You ask: What if what I am about to say is wrong somehow? Breath gets trapped in your throat: your hand stays down and you stay silent. Or you blurt out a mash of words, followed by a quiet “I’m not sure if that made sense.”

Suddenly, participation becomes much more than 30% of your grade: it’s an almost daily anxiety-inducer. Some professors may claim to be accommodating, but talking out loud with anxiety can be daunting, explaining yourself even more so. I think that some professors need to make a greater effort to understand the process behind participating for students with anxiety. Furthermore I think students with anxiety need to feel more welcomed in classes where participation is essential. A fellow student, Charlotte Scott, has added an important comment: some professors offer ways in which students can participate that aren’t speaking, including sending an email with comments to the professor after class to count towards the participation grade. This needs to be a more prominent aspect of classes at Haverford. I’m not sure how to make this change for us as Fords, but a discussion of participation and a change in the current procedure are undeniably necessary to ease the anxieties of many students.

Thank you to my friends Janani Suresh and Annecy McGeary brought these situations to my attention, and I’m glad to have had the chance to write about them.

The Power of Gratitude

by Sarina Smith

As children, many of us were taught that being grateful for all that we have and giving back to others will make us happier than simply receiving gifts. As kids and even adults, we often overlook this age-old lesson and sometimes dismiss its truthfulness, wondering how writing a thank-you note to someone could make us happier than receiving money or new clothes. We tend to think about all that we want or wish to happen, but we often forget about everything that we already have in our lives.

When was the last time that you really stopped and thought about all that you are thankful for? Take a minute right now to simply reflect on who and what you are grateful for in your life. . . Now, how do you feel? Research has shown that expressing gratitude on a daily basis really does improve health, especially mental well-being. Gratitude allows people to focus on what makes them happy instead of basing their happiness on attaining something new. Expressing gratitude may be one of the simplest ways to become happier and healthier.

Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at the University of California at Davis, has been studying the impact of gratitude on people’s well being. Emmons is a leading researcher in a relatively new field of psychology called “positive psychology.” His research and the studies of others, such as Lisa Aspinwall, a psychology professor at the University of Utah, have shown that adopting an “attitude of gratitude” as a consistent state of mind improves many aspects of health. Emmons describes gratitude as “a felt sense of wonder, thankfulness, and appreciation for life.” It has been shown that people who demonstrate gratitude are more likely to take better care of themselves mentally and physically, cope better with challenges and stress, and be happier and more optimistic. Additionally, these people have been shown to have stronger relationships with others. Gratitude has even been linked to improved immunity, lower blood pressure, and better sleep.

A sense of gratitude can have a powerful impact on adolescent mental health. According to a study presented at an annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, grateful teens are happier and more well-behaved than less-grateful peers. A study in the Journal of Happiness also found that teens who expressed gratitude exhibited better grades and were less depressed and envious. According to Giacomo Bono, Ph.D., a psychology professor at California State University, “More gratitude may be precisely what our society needs to raise a generation that is ready to make a difference in the world.”

Developing a sense of gratitude may feel difficult to do at first, but there are various ways that you can cultivate a sense of gratitude as a part of your permanent mental state. One method that has been shown to dramatically increase mood is writing a thank-you note to someone who has made a positive impact on your life. A study by Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, showed that participants who wrote a letter of thanks to someone for their kindness and then delivered the letter to that person displayed an immediate increase in happiness. Those who read the note to the recipient personally showed the highest increase in happiness. Even simply thanking someone in your mind can significantly increase your mood. Another way to foster a sense of gratitude in your life is to keep a gratitude journal and designate a short time each day or even once a week to write in it. Mediation and prayer for those who are religious can also be used to cultivate gratitude and improve mental well-being. As Thanksgiving approaches, take some time to personally thank friends, family, and loved ones for all that they have done for you, and begin cultivating a daily sense of gratitude in your own life.


Cookie Dough Catering Fundraiser

Hello everybody!
Haverford’s Active Minds Chapter wants to announce our Cookie Dough Catering Fundraiser

This event is meant to help you support your friends through finals while raising money for the Active Minds National Organization, which promotes mental health education and advocacy.You can order servings of edible cookie dough, along with a supportive note, and then we’ll deliver them to your friends! Here are the details…

Ordering Options: 1. Sign-up while we are tabling in the DC, from 11:30-1:30 and 5-7on Monday  4/22 and 5-7 on Tuesday 4/23, and pay by cash or Venmo
2. Sign-up by Venmo (@Rachel-Spitzer)In order for your order to be filled, you MUST include: your friend(s) name and dorm room(s), any note you would like us to write, and your name (if you want the recipient(s) to know who the treat is from). Orders must be sent by 4/24 at 11:59 pm.Price: 1 for $3, 2 for $5, and 5 for $10! Ingredients: vegetable oil, brown sugar, white sugar, almond milk, vanilla extract, baking soda, flour, vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips (this recipe is EDIBLE and VEGAN!)

Please reach out if you have any questions!

RECAP: Haverford Days Without Stigma!

by Rachel Spitzer

At the end of November last semester, Haverford’s chapter of Active Minds hosted its first Days without Stigma event to promote mental health awareness. We collected data about perceptions of mental health on campus, common questions, and use of resources. Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by our table to share their thoughts and show support for those struggling with mental health! Here’s a recap of our results, in picture form!

Students traced their hands and wrote messages to support the fight against mental health stigma.
Two of our chapter members, Anna and Althea, helped with our tabling activities and gave out stickers and bracelets to participants.

How would you describe your experience with mental health in one word?

To survey students about using CAPS, we asked them to place a mint in one of two jars.

Responses to Our Student Survey

What do you wish others knew about your mental health/illness experience?

  • It’s part of my life and makes it hard, but it helps me know myself better.
  • That it manifests very physically. It tires my body out as the flu would. It’s even worse because it eats away at your mental and psychological state.
  • I wish I could feel more supported
  • That it’s okay to not have great days!
  • I wish people knew that mental health and access to resources changes based on people’s backgrounds (like their race and socioeconomic backgrounds) so it can be really frustrating when people make broad generalizations about mental health.

What level of mental health stigma do you experience at Haverford?

Where should we make improvements to mental health culture at Haverford?

Digital Mental Health Resources

Hey everyone! As a follow-up to our overview of mental health services on campus, here’s a guide to some of the great websites and smartphone applications you can try. There’s a lot of information and support available for free, and I hope this post offers some useful suggestions. I’ve starred the most impressive resources I’ve found.


  • *The Mighty: The Mighty is an awesome website that features writing from people with all sorts of different mental health conditions, as well as other health issues and neurological differences. It’s a wonderful community where you can read personal stories from individuals who share your experiences.
  • The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors: The term “body-focused repetitive behavior” applies to conditions including compulsive hair pulling, skin-picking, and nail-biting. This website is a great source of information and support for disorders that affect many people but are very rarely addressed.
  • *Crisis Text Line: This website gives information about a free, 24/7 text line you can use in a moment of emotional crisis. You have a text conversation with a “Crisis Counselor” who helps you calm down and can refer you to other resources.
  • Intrusive Thoughts: This website offers simple, clear information about OCD, or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. It discusses specific types of OCD as well as different treatments.
  • National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA): This organization is an amazing nonprofit that provides support for people struggling with eating disorders. The website has reliable information as well as resources like a free hotline and links to online support.
  • Anxiety Canada: This website is a great source of information about various anxiety-related disorders. Anxiety Canada also provides self-help plans for all the conditions they cover, which you can find here.
  • Anxiety and Depression Association of America: ADAA is a national nonprofit that provides support for individuals with depression as well as anxiety disorders. Here is a page with resources for teens and college students.
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):  NAMI is another great nonprofit that provides opportunities to support individuals with mental illnesses, on both an individual and national basis. It also includes information and support for specific conditions.
  • Mental Health America: This site has a specific page for college students here and a site with screens and support for specific conditions here. The site also has about mental health for minority groups, as well as mental health screening tools in Spanish.
  • Reach Out: This website is a great resource specifically for teenagers and young adults. It’s easy to use and also has a useful page reviewing a lot of mental health apps.
  • Mental Health Coalition: a website with different “roadmaps” on navigating mental health as well as a huge library of resources


  • *Youper: This is great app that I’ve tried myself. It uses artificial intelligence to help you track your mood and leads you through cognitive behavioral therapy exercises that can be really helpful. The app also includes health monitoring for conditions like depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • *nOCD: nOCD is an app that offers support to people with obsessive-compulsive disorder. It was created with insight from OCD professionals, and you can do exposure therapy and communicate with other users in the app.
  • *Recovery Record: This is an app for eating disorder recovery that many clinicians use with their patients, although anyone can use it. Recovery Record provides meal logging and lots of support, as well as prizes for progress.
  • Aloe Bud: Aloe Bud is a cute app that offers you reminders, reflections, and tracking for self care.
  • Insight Timer: This is a meditation app that has tons of different guided meditations to choose from. Unlike many other apps (like Headspace, which I’ve tried), it’s totally free. Definitely check it out!
  • PacificaPacifica is a mood tracker app that has different tools to manage stress, anxiety, and depression. There is an option to upgrade the app with a paid subscription, but even the free version offers helpful resources.
  • *Mindshift: This app is really awesome, and it has a bunch of different activities to track and manage anxiety. It’s completely free and I highly recommend checking it out!
  • Relax Melodies: This app offers a variety of relaxing sounds that you can mix together, like rain, fire crackling, and crickets chirping. It’s just a nice way to calm down.
  • Self Care: This is a really unique and relaxing app that offers a variety of different activities to practice mindfulness. The design is beautiful and customizable, and as you continue to use the app, more features become available.
  • What’s Up: This is a simple app designed to help you users cope with various mental health issues through thought tracking, forums, and various activities.

Resources for People of Color

  • NAMI Indigenous Mental Health Resources
  • We R Native: a health resource written for and by Native young people, that provides information on improving mood, specific mental health issues, seeking help, and more
  • Indian Health Service: includes information on a variety of health topics, including suicide prevention, as well as support for finding health care
  • Black Mental Wellness: organization with worksheets, fact sheets, and trainings
  • Black Emotional and Mental Health: Organization that seeks to remove barriers to mental health treatment and healing in Black communities; has a great library of resources
  • NAMI Black/African American Mental Health Resources: an informational page and list of more resources
  • NAMI Hispanic/Latinx Mental Health Resources: an informational page and list of more resources
  • NAMI Compartiendo Esperanza Program: a video series that explores mental health in Latinx communities and includes captions in Spanish; check out this accompanying bilingual booklet on mental health
  • Latinx Therapy: Organization attempting to “destigmatize mental health in the Latinx community” that includes a directory of therapists, a bilingual podcast, and other resources
  • NAMI Asian American and Pacific Islander Mental Health Resources: an informational page and list of more resources
  • National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association: Includes a directory to service providers in all 50 states, information about projects and advocacy, and more
  • Asian Mental Health Project: Offers research to help find a therapist, a weekly online check-in, and more information
  • National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network (NQTTCN): a directory of QTPOC therapists
  • MHC BIPOC Mental Health Resources
  • NAMI Roundup of BIPOC Mental Health Resources
  • NQTTCN Mental Health Resources
  • Mental Health and Wellness Resources for Students of Color
  • Steve Fund Crisis Text Line: young people of color can text STEVE to 741741 to speak to a trained crisis counselor, 24/7
  • The Loveland Foundation: helps provide funding to people of color for all kinds of mental health issues

Feel free to reach out if you find one of these resources particularly useful or if you have your own suggestions!