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!


How to Hack Haverford Mental Health Services!

By Althea and Anna

First Year Deans (And Upperclass Deans!)

  • We cannot stress enough that Katrina Glanzer – the first year dean – is AWESOME.
  • We highly recommend utilizing her for any and all concerns that come up – she can help direct you to other resources and streamline services, as well as just talk one on one about any complications. This includes having trouble accessing services, having a problem in the classroom, or anything inhibiting happiness at Haverford! She can help you brainstorm ideas and clue you into resources at Haverford that you might not know exist.
  • How to Access: If you email Dean Glanzer, she answers generally really quickly and will let you know when she’s free. This is a super easy-to-access resource!

Office of Academic Resources!

  • The OAR is great – they provide a really good mix of individualized and group services for all students. Below is a list of resources, and how to access them:
    • Peer Tutoring: This is a good way to get extra help in a specific class. There are multiple ways to schedule an appointment with a specific tutor or make a general request to get placed with someone.
    • Academic Coaching: This is a great resource that Haverford provides that often isn’t advertised enough! Sometimes, it isn’t a specific class causing an issue but just a feeling in general that things are piling on! Academic Coaching is an unlimited service that the OAR provides where they’ll meet with you to talk through general academic practices–– things like organizing and scheduling, skimming more effectively, blocking out large assignments, and balancing academic drive with self care! To access, you can either go to walk in hours or schedule with an individual coach through this link:
    • The OAR also has a ton of links to various learning resources that most people definitely don’t know exist, having college approved guides is super awesome and this database is a one-stop shop for help!
    • The OAR also has a ton of group workshops for a lot of the skills that the Academic Coaches offer. Workshops cover topics like Time Management and Semester Blueprinting, which are really important! Throughout the year, the OAR also holds regular events for topics like strategies to destress. Pro-tip: there are really good snacks and Insomnia Cookies at those events. They want you to come! The best way to stay up-to-date with OAR programming is to subscribe to their weekly newsletter, which has tons of useful info. You can do that here:
    • Finally, the OAR has a really great page with the times and locations of a lot of the question centers for various subjects like the MQC and CQC! If you’re wondering what resources you have available or forgot where the room is, check out this page:

Access and Disability Services

  • At any point, Access and Disability Services are a really important resource for many students on campus. We’re going to focus on mental health accommodation services, but it should be stressed that this also encapsulates a wide variety of other resources on campus.
  • Reports of experiences with ADS are honestly varied, it can be hard to figure out how to jump through the hoops to get the accomodations you need. However, this shouldn’t deter anyone from trying!
  • A few tips: while we recognize that this isn’t an option for everyone, it is honestly helpful to get parents involved. If this is an option for you, we recommend utilizing parents to put pressure on ADS if necessary, and being an advocate alongside you for your needs.
  • Whether or not you can get parents involved, it’s definitely helpful to have an adult in the picture. For First Years, this would generally be Katrina Glanzer, who can help you streamline your process of working out ADS services and accommodations, and figure out strategies with you. For Upperclassmen, this can be your dean, which you can figure out by looking up online. Having an adult to advocate for you is (unfortunately) really helpful on this campus.
  • If possible, thinking through current issues in your academic life and possible accommodations that can help alleviate those struggles before going to your meeting can aid in advocating for specific accommodations.
  • It is never too late in the semester to get accommodations! Mental Health isn’t predictable, and ultimately ADS always wants to help students be successful at Haverford.
  • We know the process of obtaining accommodations can feel overwhelming, but it can be really helpful for tailoring your academics to match your mental health. Breaking down the process into smaller steps can be a great way to take big strides.
  • *Pro Tip – if you have Mental Health concerns that affect your housing options, ADS can help you obtain Housing Accommodations for Mental Health!
  • Check out this link to access:

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) — Second floor of Stokes

CAPS is a full-time counseling service for Haverford students. You can go to CAPS for one appointment or many (there is no limit on the number of appointments and this is a FREE service). You can also specify whether you want to meet with a male or female counselor if that is important to you. There are also several support groups that you can read about on the CAPS website that are designed to be collaborative and validating environments that are perfect for students who want support from their peers as well as a trained counselor.

How to Schedule an Appointment:

The CAPS website is: and you can use their site to schedule an appointment. However… it can be pretty tricky to get an appointment, especially if you are using their online scheduling service. Patty Rawlings is the person who organizes all CAPS logistics, and her email is:  But Patty is an incredibly busy person and it’s possible that an email to her will get lost in the shuffle.

What to do:

  • SCHEDULE EARLY — if you wait until midterm time to schedule an appointment it’s going to take longer to find an open spot because a huge portion of Haverford students need extra help around this time. If possible, try setting up an appointment at the beginning of the semester by emailing Patty Rawlings (when she is less busy!)
  • IF YOU NEED AN APPOINTMENT RIGHT AWAY: Just walk into the CAPS office on the second floor of Stokes and approach Patty at the front desk. If you talk to her in person and bring a schedule with ALL of your available times with you, it’s more likely that you will get an appointment right away.
  • DROP-IN HOURS are from 11am–12pm and 2pm–3pm Monday through Friday. You can go to drop-in hours if you need immediate help, and if you keep showing up and asking for a regular appointment, you’re likely to get one.
  • GET PARENTS INVOLVED. We know that this isn’t an option for everyone, but if you’re really having trouble getting a regular appointment time and your parents are willing and able to help out, it is really effective to get them involved. CAPS will always respond more quickly if they are feeling pressure from parents.
  • GROUP THERAPY SESSIONS are also available if you need something quickly but can’t get an individual session.
  • IF ALL ELSE FAILS: There are a variety of places and people that you can go to on this campus to get the help you need even if CAPS is logistically difficult to navigate.
    • DEFINITELY talk to your dean if you have concerns about the way your mental health is impacting your academics, or if you need an adult to help you advocate for yourself in CAPS (first-years — Katrina Glanzer is fantastic! She will absolutely help you get the help you need).
    • Go to Health Services! You can always call Health Services and make an appointment to talk about your mental health. After having a conversation with a doctor or nurse in Health Services, they will not only be able to give you advice on next steps, but it’s likely that they will be able to help you navigate the CAPS system. Keep in mind, however, that Health Services are not free and your insurance may not cover the entire cost (although one appointment won’t be that expensive).

We have to warn that not all experiences at CAPS are positive. It’s possible that you might not like your therapist or that a counselor might have an approach that is unhelpful or feels invalidating. Don’t feel like you are stuck with the first person you get assigned to. If you don’t like your therapist, ask to switch! If you feel uncomfortable with a dynamic in your sessions, trust yourself and ask if you can try someone new. This should be a helpful experience, and there’s nothing wrong with advocating for yourself! Lots of students switch during the semester!

Student Mental Health Groups:

Active Minds

  • If you’re on this blog page, you’ve already found us! We are the only group linked to a National Organization advocating for Mental Health. We have conversations about grassroots strategies to improve dialogue about Mental Health on campus, spreading information, working to reduce stigma, and cluing the Haverford Community into what’s going on.
  • How to Access: we meet on TUESDAYS from 8-9 in VCAM! Feel free to contact with any questions through our website, or by emailing any of us individually!

Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies

  • This group is organized by Kelly Wilcox, who is super awesome. Meetings of HMHB generally focus around updating students on different mental health initiatives going on on campus, and asking for input on what other things need to happen. This group works closely with the administration of Haverford to initiate change – and is a great group to join if you’re interested in making Haverford Mental Health Services better!
  • How to Access: Email Dean Wilcox! Meeting times vary based on everyone’s availability, so she can get you on the list for signups!


  • This group is a student run discussion group on Mental Health! The meetings are semi-confidential to preserve student privacy and create a safe space. This is a great group to join to talk about relevant mental health conversations and contribute to creating a trusting environment for mental health dialogue.
  • How to Access: Email: to get on the list!

While all of these groups are great resources for more general mental health concerns, we also want to recognize that many people find mental health support in affinity groups and discussion groups for various umbrellas of identity, and stress that these are some really awesome resources for people on campus.


Hello, Haverford students! Welcome to the official blog for Haverford College’s brand new chapter of Active Minds. For those of you don’t know, Active Minds is a national nonprofit focused on mental health advocacy and suicide prevention. It was founded 15 years ago by a student at University of Pennsylvania, and now has over 450 student-led chapters on high school and college campuses around the country. Active Minds really focuses on trying to start conversations about mental illness as well as reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues. You can learn more about Active Minds and their story here.

Active Minds at Haverford College is now a registered campus chapter, and we hold weekly meetings on Tuesdays from 8:00-9:00 pm in VCAM 102. Since chapters are led by students, we’re the ones making decisions about what we want to address on campus. We’ve already had several meetings, and members have brought up Haverford-specific issues including making appointments at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and getting accommodations from Access and Disability Service (ADS), as well as the additional stress experienced by Customs Folk. On top of these problems, as Haverford students we have to contend with all the usual factors affecting mental health in college. Especially at a small, academically rigorous school like Haverford, it can feel difficult to balance your mental health with things like schoolwork, extracurriculars, part-time jobs, and familial obligations. It’s even harder if you have an ongoing mental health issue to deal with as well.

All that being said, Active Minds at Haverford exists to help students raise awareness, provide resources, and start conversations about mental health on campus and nationally. As a community, Haverford can only grow stronger from engaging openly with these issues. None of us is alone, and we shouldn’t have to feel alone in our experiences with mental health and mental illness. Hopefully this blog will become a place for us to express our thoughts and opinions, as well as share advice and resources specific to life at Haverford. We’d love to hear what you have to say, whether it’s via email or at a weekly meeting.


Charlotte Scott, Rachel Spitzer, Althea Sellers, Arielle Schultz, and Anna Bacharach


Active Minds: Our story

Active Minds: Mission and impact