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The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

Active Minds speaker helps NMSU students reframe mental health 

“We want our students to be as healthy and happy as possible.”  
Active+Minds+Speaker%2C+Abraham+Sculley%2C+takes+a+photo+with+attendees+from+his+talk%2C+%E2%80%9CBreaking+the+Stigma+on+Mental+Health.%E2%80%9D+Sept.+28%2C+2023.
Elizabeth McCall
Active Minds Speaker, Abraham Sculley, takes a photo with attendees from his talk, “Breaking the Stigma on Mental Health.” Sept. 28, 2023.

For National Suicide Prevention Month, New Mexico State University invited an Active Minds guest speaker to the NMSU community to spread mental health awareness, on Thursday, Sept. 28, in Corbett Center Student Union.  

Active Minds is a nonprofit organization that promotes the importance of mental health education to young adults with programs like its National Chapter Network. The Active Minds chapters are school-based groups that work to change the approach to mental health within their community. 

Active Minds Speaker, Abraham Sculley, delivered his talk “Breaking the Stigma on Mental Health” to help NMSU’s Active Minds chapter better serve its community. Advocates from the Aggie Health and Wellness Center also joined the event to showcase their resources to attendees.  

“I hope that people feel a bit more comfortable knowing the support system here on campus and the services that NMSU provides in terms of mental health awareness,” said Vivianna Castro, president of NMSU Active Minds and a peer educator at Aggie Health and Wellness Center. 

Sculley connected with students by sharing how he battled with clinical depression when he was a college student. He fought the acceptance of his diagnosis because of the social stigma built around it, but once he became open about his struggles, he sought help. 

Attendees join in at the interactive event to learn the importance of mental health. Sept. 28, 2023. (Elizabeth McCall)

After his experience, Sculley became passionate about helping others who struggle similarly. He became a mental health speaker for Active Minds and wrote his book, “Unlearn the Lies: A Guide to Reshaping the Way We Think About Depression,” which discusses his “H.O.T” framework of being honest, open and transparent. 

“At first, I was afraid of what other people would think of me because I was diagnosed with depression,” Sculley said. “It was just a fear of what people would think when I started saying what was true about my experience. So, when I started doing this, it wasn’t because I wanted to do it, it was because I knew I needed to do it.” 

Angel Valdez, an NMSU student who attended the talk, said it was a mindful conversation, and she is glad there are speakers like Sculley because a lot of people suffer and don’t seek help. 

Another student who attended, Kayte Dunivan, expressed her appreciation for Sculley’s compassion for the subject. 

“I loved how interactive he was,” Dunivan said. “He got us all involved, asked us questions and made me laugh. It definitely gave me a different perspective about mental health and depression and got rid of the stigma that everyone talks about nowadays.” 

By sharing his journey, Sculley strives for students to feel less isolated if they are going through a mental health crisis and feel encouraged to be more honest with themselves.  

Abraham Sculley delivers his talk, “Breaking the Stigma on Mental Health.” Sept. 28, 2023. (Elizabeth McCall)

“My hope is that from listening to the conversation, not only are students educated now on what to look out for to know whether or not they need support, but also to know what type of support is available and have the courage to get what they need when they need it,” he said. 

Vanessa Paz, a counselor at Aggie Health and Wellness Center, and Amanda Blair, assistant director for the wellness center, understand that discussions like this are crucial to have, especially with students who are unaware that help is at their fingertips.  

“It is okay to talk about it, and we can and will destigmatize these real issues, not only with individuals but our campus and community,” Blair said. “It is a multiple-layered approach, and we want our students to be as healthy and happy as possible.” 

Visit the Active Minds website to learn more about its mission. For more information about NMSU’s counseling services, visit the Aggie Health and Wellness Center’s website. In case of a mental health emergency, call 988.

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About the Contributor
Elizabeth McCall, Staff Writer
Elizabeth McCall is entering her first year with The Round Up as a Staff Writer. She is a senior at NMSU majoring in Journalism & Media Studies with a minor in communications. She was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico but grew up in Edgewood, New Mexico. Elizabeth discovered her love for writing in middle school, when her love for reading evolved. She became interested in journalism in high school, and since then it has become a passion. She spends most of her time reading and writing, but also loves music, playing with her dog, hiking, and spending time with her husband, family and friends. Elizabeth hopes to make a positive impact at The Round Up and grow as a writer and journalist.

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