Tufts’ Active Minds’ Monologue Night on Tuesday evening was a huge success. The event, “The Mental Health Monologues: Strength in Stories,” presented Tufts students with twenty extremely personal stories detailing the hardships that mental health creates. Tissues in hand, I went in with realistic expectations.
The turnout was unbelievable—Goddard Chapel was filled with students eager to listen in and hear firsthand how mental health affects those around them. Lots of people were tearing up from what I could see—readers and audience members alike. I didn’t know most of the readers, and there was no way to know if they were recounting their own struggles or simply reading the struggles of an anonymous writer, but I wanted to give each and every one of them a hug, words of encouragement, or anything that might offer comfort and support. Words honestly can’t express how proud I was of each and every writer and reader, strangers and friends alike, just for putting their voices out there.
Starting right off the bat with Camila Mendard’s reading Dear 8 Year Old Me, I had a strong emotional reaction to the nights. Each an every reader and story was powerful. Most of the twenty readers discussed personal stories about coping with the effects of depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders. However, the last reader, Danielle Mulligan, gave a different perspective when she discussed her sister’s struggles, and how difficult it is to watch the ones we love suffer. Her story tied everyone’s pieces together by showing that everyone is in some way affected by mental illness.
Simply being able to convey to everyone the importance of understanding mental health was a huge accomplishment for Active Minds, but they also tried to take it further. On their pamphlets, they offered important resources for people struggling to overcome problems with mental health. Those resources are:
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1 (800) 273-8255
Crisis Text Line: Text BRAVE to 741-741
Ears 4 Peers: (617) 627-3888
Counselor on Call: (617) 627-3030
Walker Bristol, Humanist Chaplain
Nino Testa, LGBT Center Director
Furthermore, Active Minds has been working with Zencare, a site dedicated to connecting people with compatible therapists in the area. Currently, they are expanding to Boston, so feel free to check them out and provide your own recommendations.
Overall, the success of the monologues was really something that could be felt across campus by students of all different backgrounds on Tuesday night. It ended with a wonderfully long standing ovation for Danielle Mulligan and Kari McNeal, the co-presidents of Active Minds, as well as for everyone that shared their story that night. This will hopefully become an annual tradition for Tufts, and we can only hope that it helps us get rid of the stigma behind mental health issues.