The Heard

The Heard

 Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C., USA

A program of Active Minds, The Heard is a dynamic group of young adults who have survived and thrived in spite of mental health disorders. They have come together to tell their stories as part of the largest young adult mental health speakers bureau in the country.


Alison Malmon is founder and executive director of Active Minds, a national organization that uses students as the driving force to change the perception about mental health on college campuses. Her dedication to the fields of suicide prevention and mental health promotion began in 2001, a year after her witty, popular and Ivy-League educated brother, Brian Malmon, died by suicide when he was only twenty-two.

Convinced that the society's stigmatization of people with mental illness led to the death of her only sibling, Alison started a student group on her campus at the University of Pennsylvania to promote a respectful dialogue around mental health. Upon graduating in 2003, Alison knew the story was much larger than her own and saw the tremendous need for the student voice in efforts to address young adult mental health. As a result, she grew that student group into a nonprofit organization for which she serves as executive director and public speaker. In only seven years, Active Minds has grown to more than 260 campus-based chapters and is host to nationally acclaimed events and programs, including The Heard Speakers Bureau. Alison has spoken to thousands of young adults, mental health advocates, and leaders in the field.

Alison delivers a heart-warming and inspiring presentation that educates the audience on young adult mental health, provides practical information on protecting personal mental health as well as the mental health of family and friends, and encourages everyone to become involved in her growing movement to end the silence around mental health disorders.

Among numerous awards, Alison has been named a Person you Should Know by CNN, Woman of Distinction by AAUW and NASPA, and Citizen of the Year and Distinctive Alumnus from her hometown and high school. She has appeared on CNN, Good Morning America, and in Glamour Magazine, the New York Times, Newsweek, and others.

Alison is just one of ten members of Active Minds' speakers bureau, The Heard: a group of dynamic and highly trained young adults (in their 20s) who share their personal mental health stories of struggle and triumph. Heard speakers have spoken to over a million young adults on hundreds of campuses nationwide. Through highly-relatable, engaging and appropriately humorous presentations, The Heard presenters tackle a diverse range of challenging topics including depression, suicide, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, family issues, coming out as LGBTQ, post traumatic stress disorder and more. Through personal story-telling, the presentations educate audiences on the signs and symptoms of mental health disorders, reduce stigma and encourage help-seeking.



Set List

Through unique, dynamic and engaging personal stories, The Heard presentations effectively convey a common set of positive mental health messages.

Message 1: Seeking help and talking about your problems is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness.
Message 2: Mental health disorders are treatable. Even people with severe mental health disorders can expect significant improvement in their symptoms if they seek help.
Message 3: People with mental health disorders can live healthy, happy and productive lives if they take care of themselves. What you see about mental health in popular culture is a distortion of what’s really going on.
Message 4: A person can experience a mental health disorder based on their biology or environment, or both.
Message 5: While we don’t all have a mental health disorder, we all have mental health. We all deal with our mental health on a daily basis and everyone needs different things to take care of theirs – some people write in journals, some