Student Council organized “Mental Wellness Week” for the student body on the week of September 9. Throughout the week, StuCo members took strides to bring awareness to the impact of mental illnesses and what struggling students can do to get help and relieve tension.
Depression and mental illnesses alike have become a growing discussion among teens and young adults internationally. As suicide rates increase as time goes on, schools across the world are making strong efforts to bring light to this issue and urge students to reach out. Our school has become a part of this movement.
“We have been doing the Awareness Awaits presentation for the past few years and we just wanted to do something more. Something that would truly impact the student body as a whole and bring people together,” Cody Fowler, second-vice president of Student Council, said.
StuCo members arranged many activities to involve the student body in their efforts. They kicked off the week by greeting each student with a smile and a clothes pin and/or sticky note on Monday morning. Throughout the day, students were encouraged to give their pins or sticky notes, which were inscribed with positive messages, to anyone they saw who might need a little “pick-me-up.” Later during the week, members passed out homemade stress balls to students to help alleviate stress in classes.
“My prayer is that [our efforts] will open up further conversations and that students will reach out to their friends or families. Mental illness does not make you weak,” StuCo president Macy Guerrero said. “As a student body, it’s time we recognize that and accept that it’s okay not to be okay.”
Tuesday morning, the student council officers held a school-wide assembly during third period to talk about mental illness and the impact of suicide. In the assembly, students watched a slideshow that included statistics on suicide rates and the warning signs of someone struggling with suicidal thoughts, depression, and/or anxiety. Along with the presentation, Fowler shared his perspective with the student body on how his life has been affected by suicide and mental illness.
“I was not nervous giving my speech because I had prepared myself mentally,” Fowler said. “It was definitely one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, but it was so worth it.”
In the assembly, student council first-vice president, senior Jaucelyn Gibson, used her own experiences to encourage students who are struggling with personal conflict or mental illness to reach out.
“Despite everything going on, things do get better and suicide is not the answer. There will always be bad days. That’s life. You just can’t let the bad days win,” said Gibson. “I understand that [some may] feel alone, but I’m living proof that you aren’t the only one going through these feelings and thoughts. Reach out… because it’s okay to not to be okay, but it’s not okay to not ask for help.”