Letter to the Editor: Mental Health Week is helpful, but not enough

I am someone who has struggled with mental illness. I am someone who has lost a family member to mental illness. Mental Health Awareness is extremely important to me. So seeing Metea Valley students and staff step up and put together a Mental Health week really made me proud. It’s great to educate students on mental illness and introduce them to helpful resources. However, I still believe as a school and district we need to be doing even more.

One relaxation day in gym class per year is not going to save lives. Minute long morning announcements are not going to save lives. Merely telling someone to “reach out if you need help” is not enough. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to actually reach out to someone and admit you have a problem.

Mustang30 is an amazing new program at our school. Perhaps a new option for next year could be meditation time in the gym. This weekly relaxation opportunity would help significantly more than one day per year.

A student in one of my classes passed away last year. Guidance counselors visited our class and told us “if you need someone to talk to, come see us.” Although a kind gesture, this still isn’t enough for us. I understand our counselors are busy working with many students throughout the year. Which is why I believe we could even set up a peer mentoring program. There are many students at this school who are passionate about helping others with their hardships. Those students can become mentors, and work alongside the counselors to communicate with students who need someone to talk to. For some, it may be much more comfortable talking with a peer than an adult counselor.

Lastly, I believe the Mental Health Committee should be less exclusive. As someone who wanted to be apart of it and wasn’t chosen, I feel it’s hypocritical to have a mental health club-like organization that not everyone can be apart of. There are more students like myself who have great ideas to improve the mental wellbeing of Metea students. Making the club inclusive would be a great way to let more voices be heard.