New club to promote mental health

Jenny Choi, Staff Reporter

After losing her mother at 8 and losing her 15-year-old niece to suicide, Sinh Do, 26, psychology major, decided to start a mental health club at De Anza College called Active Minds.

Do, who sought treatment for depression, said raising awareness about mental health is one of her main goals in life. Active Minds aims to accomplish this goal in aiding college students with their mental health.

“After my niece passed away at the age of 15, I realized that even younger people might go through the same health challenge, so I wanted to help young people,” Do said. “With my experience, I don’t want anyone else in my community to go through this challenge alone.”

Do served with De Anza’s National Alliance on Mental Illness club but felt they did not reach out enough to students and was limited in its scope of information.

Over the summer, she trained with the California Community College student wellness ambassador program to become De Anza’s student wellness ambassador. She is one of the 20 students selected to be an ambassador.

With my experience, I don’t want anyone else in my community to go through this challenge alone.

— Sinh Do, 26, psychology major

“It’s a huge thing,” she said. “The students need to know about mental health.”

With Active Minds, Do wants to be more interactive with students, to have more student engagement and cover a wide variety of topics relating to mental health.

At the first club meeting, participants discussed cognitive training and talked about their mental health struggles. The club plans to explore coping mechanisms, such as journaling.

Khush Naidu, 18, computer science major, said he believes Active Minds will serve as an open forum to talk about mental health.

“I don’t think there is a place to talk about mental health in the college, and it’s not easy to talk about your trouble about mental health,” he said.

Stefanie Tjaden, 28, math major, said she struggled with compulsive thoughts when she was 16.

“It was totally irrational but I was so afraid about those negative thoughts,” she said.

Because of her experience, Tjaden said she understands the minds and feelings of people suffering with mental health.

Through Active Minds, Do aims to broaden the conversation about mental health at De Anza, and pursue her goal of helping students struggling with mental health.

“That’s part of my goal, my dream and my life, to be able to help people who make me go through the same thing,” she said.