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

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

Kennedy Homman

Kennedy Homman

Kennedy Homman

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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.

4 Comments

4 Responses to “Letter to the Editor: Mental Health Week is helpful, but not enough”

  1. Anonymous on May 10th, 2019 10:29 am

    As someone who has struggled with mental illness myself, it was extremely disheartening to sit down at an academic discussion with my peers and listen to one of the students state that today marked the beginning of mental health awareness week, only to immediately make fun of those who struggle with mental health and make this week seem like a joke. I believe that there’s nothing else that the counselors at this school can do beyond offering assistance to the students who are willing to speak up about the state of their own mental health. The counselors are unable to know if a problem exists unless the students themselves speak up. The real problem, I believe, with the escalating mental health of some of our students is their unwillingness to speak up, and I believe the direct cause of that is every single peer in this school who mocks mental illness. They’re the ones who continue to make mental illness a taboo subject, even though a large majority of people struggle with it every day. If we all work towards breaking down these stigmas, I believe that people will be more willing to share their own experiences and actively seek help when they actually do need it. I think incorporating assemblies aimed at educating students about the reality and severity of mental illness would be the first step, but the assembly should be executed appropriately about the true subject at hand- I’d be extremely disappointed in our school if we attempted to raise awareness about mental health the same way we tried to stop bullying by showing random bikers doing flips in the auditorium who occasionally stated “bullying isn’t cool guys ):”.

  2. Mrs. Wange on May 10th, 2019 11:00 am

    Hello! I sponsor the Mental Health Awareness Club with Ms. Bane and we are actively looking for new members. Please join us! You have great ideas! As we’ve said in the announcements, ALL are welcome to join! We met every other Tuesday this year, and will pick back up in the fall.

    Mrs. Wange

  3. T on May 11th, 2019 10:15 am

    I struggle with mental illness and I think making us feel different at all by having a club for it is making it worse

  4. anonymous on May 13th, 2019 1:16 pm

    Majority of people at school take mental health as a joke which totally sucks. It’s a real issue in society and many people die from it each year.

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