Active Minds at McPherson College will hold its first fundraiser with a Strike Out Stigma bowling and silent auction event from 1 to 3 p.m. Aug. 26 at Starlight Lanes, 900 W. Kansas Ave. in McPherson.

For $35, participants will receive three games of bowling, a meal voucher, $10 silent-auction credit and a T-shirt.

“We want students to be really involved — from both colleges,” said Kayla Onstott, president of Active Minds at McPherson College. “We want parents involved, we want kids involved.”

Six packages will be offered at the silent auction. The “Staycation” packages includes a one-night stay at a McPherson hotel, tickets to the McPherson Opera House and dinner at Noffy’s. There are also game night, DIY, night at the movies and a “Weekday Wake-Up Call” package with gift cards to Craft Coffee and Fox & Ash Barbershop.

The premium package is a trip to Kansas City, complete with a two-night hotel stay, gas card and even money to pay for turnpike tolls.

“We want the person who buys that package to really go and have fun,” Onstott said.

Those interested in coming to the fundraiser can pre-register on Facebook or register on site when the doors open at noon on Aug. 26.

“It’s not a tournament or anything; you’re just bowling for fun,” Onstott said.

Active Minds is a mental health advocacy organization with more than 450 chapters nationwide serving 600 college campuses.

“We focus on changing the conversation about mental health,” Onstott said.

Active Minds’ programs include suicide prevention, professional mental health education speakers and the Healthy Campus Award, which honors colleges that prioritize their student’s health. 

Onstatt started Active Minds at McPherson College in March.

“I, personally, am diagnosed with bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and PTSD, which is why I started Active Minds on campus,” Onstott said.

In her second semester, Onstott’s mental health issues forced her to leave college. Returning four years later, she said wants to aid other students because of the positive intervention she received from former McPherson College Dean of Students ShaRhonda Maclin.

“That impacted my life in a very positive way,” Onstott said. “She was able to get me the help I needed.”

With the money raised by the Strike Out Stigma fundraiser, Active Minds at McPherson College hopes to be able to send Associate Dean of Students Ben Coffey to be trained as a mental health first aid instructor. He, in turn, will be able to train the college’s resident directors and assistants in mental health crisis and substance-abuse intervention.

“It benefits the students because if someone is having a mental health crisis like I did when I was a first-time freshman, then there will be people trained to intervene and get them the help they need,” Onstott said.

Because they live on campus, family members of college students may not always realize when they are experiencing mental health issues.

“RAs and RDs have a lot more access to students because they’re living in the dorms with them,” Onstott said. “They have the opportunity to intervene and recognize an issue before it gets to be severe.”

Active Minds at McPherson College aims to get students any mental health assistance they need quickly, enabling them to remain in school with the support from local resources.

For more information about Active Minds, visit https://www.activeminds.org.

Contact Patricia Middleton by email at pmiddleton@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow her stories on Twitter at @MacSentinel.