The Importance of Raising Awareness
One in every five Americans will experience a mental illness in a given year, but don’t know how to get help. Let that sink in. The acceptance and understanding of mental health has come a long way but, there are still things that can and should be done to help break the stigma. As millennials, this is our time to speak out for our suffering generation. Students at Roland-Story High School are taking action by using their voices to stomp out the stigma behind mental illness.
Mind Matters is a student ran organization that I created this past year. The goal of the club is to raise awareness for those who can’t or are afraid, to bring attention to student’s mental health, and to make public school’s a more positive atmosphere. So far, the club has helped several struggling students at Roland-Story. We have posted hotlines throughout the school, played uplifting music during Friday’s passing periods, sold popcorn in the library during study halls before finals, and are currently working on more impactful projects. Some that we have brainstormed are; handing out green ribbon to all of the student body to advocate for suicide prevention, creating mental health bags to hand out to random people every month (everyone would get one), and bringing in service dogs during finals this year. My goal when creating the club wasn’t to point fingers at those visibly hurting/struggling. The goal intended was to use my voice upon my peers to bring attention to something that isn’t talked about enough. Mind Matters has also gotten so many kids involved that normally don’t get involved outside of school hours. This goes to show how many young people care about the importance of mental health.
We have a few students in the club reaching out to the community to help bring attention to our club as we’d love to expand to other towns and districts. I am currently working on partnering with “Moving Forward” ran by Gilbert students. Their organization is ran by a selected group of students and they are doing great things! We have looked to this club for a lot of inspiration. As a small school, it’s hard to find students who have the time to commit to school wide activities so, I thought it would be beneficial to partner with Gilbert if we ever wanted to do something big! Reaching out to other communities has helped our organization grow and step out of our comfort zone, as well as impacting new people.
As generation Z, we have a purpose to raise awareness for the people struggling in silence. Our minds are so incredibly powerful and are hard to understand and control. If I, along with the student body at Roland-Story High School can make a difference in at least one person’s life, that matters to us. Make a difference in someone’s life today before it’s too late. To conclude what Mind Matters does and is continuing to do, I want you to take away the importance of positivity and kindness, because you never know what is going on in someone’s life.