Letter to the editor: UVM’s Active Minds club collaborates with PostSecretU

Dear editor,

“I wish my parents could see me for what I am…instead of what I didn’t become.” That is not something I would normally admit to someone I am close with, let alone everyone who is reading this, but I have a feeling I am not the only one with a secret.

This month, Active Minds at UVM is distributing notecards across campus and asking everyone to share their secret anonymously as part of Active Minds PostSecretU program. Completed postcards can be returned to Living Well, Davis Center Info Desks, Bailey/Howe Library, ALANA Student Center, Womens Center or the Allen House by Oct. 10 so that they may be included in our exhibit opening.

PostSecretUis a community art project sponsored by Active Minds, Inc. and Frank Warren, creator of the popular PostSecret blog. Our program will create an open and safe forum on campus for students to express secrets, regrets, fears, desires, hopes, dreams, and hidden acts of kindness, talents and confessions.

The display will be a visual representation about the issues we all face. We hope that PostSecretU will bring people together and allow those who have felt isolated or alone to connect to a larger group and realize what they are feeling is not actually odd or shameful.

What Mr. Warren and other Active Minds chapters have found over time is that many of the secrets submitted talk about mental health issues. Why is it that we feel our mental health concerns, struggles and experiences must be kept inside and cant be shared with others? Stigma plays a role.

We know that one in four college students struggle with a diagnosable health disorder, but at least two-thirds do not seek help because so many of the stereotypes and sentiments we encounter each day tell us that doing so is weak or shameful.

If people were to talk openly about the mental health issues they are facing, we might all feel less alone. Putting it on a postcard is a start; it allows you to get it out. It allows for an indirect conversation about that secret that you might find healthy or a relief.

Active Minds at UVM intends to break the silence surrounding our inner struggles through PostSecretU and wants to let everyone on campus know that their thoughts and feelings matter and we are ready to listen. PostSecretU is our chance to speak up together!

I hope that seeing the secrets of all those around you gives you the courage to share your secret. Active Minds at UVM will be working throughout the year to let those struggling know they are not alone and to connect you to resources and safe spaces to share what youre holding in and get help and support for your struggles. PostSecretU is just starting the conversation.

Join me and share your secrets between Aug. 31 and Oct. 10. Dont forget to return them to Living Well, Davis Center info desks, Baily/Howe Library, ALANA Student Center, Womens Center or the Allen House by Oct. 10 so that they may be included in our exhibit opening.

Sincerely,

The Active Minds at UVM Leadership Team