Southeastern Student to Spread Awareness on Mental Health
Mental illness is a subject that many people are leery to talk about, and that’s exactly why Rebecca Walsh, of Easton, wants to make it a subject that is no longer taboo at her school. So as a junior studying criminal justice, she decided to get a head start on her senior project and is planning a Mental Health Awareness Week at Southeastern starting April 9th.
“A lot of high school students have mental illness but some don’t speak about it and don’t know how to deal with it, so I wanted them to know how to cope with it. I want people to have a better idea of what mental illness is,” she said.
Rebecca, who herself has dealt with anxiety, plans to cover some of the most common forms of mental illness that students may experience, either short-term or chronically, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders and stress disorders. Some of the activities involve education, but others are aimed at helping students feel better about themselves, including a compliment competition and the sale of “Stress Less, Laugh More” decals.
Rebecca has received a lot of support from students in her endeavors. Health Services students have made posters and brochures that detail information about the different types of mental illness which will be available in the school cafeteria and school nurses’ office. Those same students, along with others in the Student Council, Performing Arts, and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), will also assist with the compliment competition, decal sales, and a day of healthy eating at the school cafeteria.
Teachers and administrators are also very excited about the upcoming week. Principal David Degan, Guidance Director Christina Guarini and Vocational Director Leslie Weckesser have worked with Rebecca on arranging the activities and have encouraged other students to participate.
“I think Rebecca’s project is a prime example of how Southeastern takes the lead in important social issues. We have all been impressed with her leadership and enthusiasm, and we hope to convey the message that our staff are here to support students in their time of need.” Ms. Weckesser said.
The activities are as follows:
- Music during passing time starts (to be continued throughout the week)
- Sale of “Stress Less, Laugh More” decals start in the cafeteria
- Posters and announcements on coping strategies for depression
- SETV News will have a segment on James Orrigo, who will be speaking on Tuesday, and the Class Compliment Competition
- Posters and announcements on coping strategies for anxiety
- Two presentations of James Orrigo, a motivational speaker
- Compliment competition begins
Wednesday (Eating Disorders)
- Sale of decals, and compliment competition continues
- Posters and announcements aimed at coping strategies for eating disorders
- The Cafeteria will have a veggie/fruit and sandwich bar
Thursday (General Day)
- Sale of decals continues
- Last day for Class Compliment Competition
- Posters and announcements on coping strategies for Bipolar Disorder
Friday (Stress Disorders)
- Pajama Day! Students are allowed, and even encouraged, to wear school appropriate pajamas to help spread awareness for mental health
- Sale of decals continues
- Posters and announcements on coping strategies for stress disorders
- Compliments will be posted around the school for everyone to see and to encourage a positive environment