By MAGGIE MEDVETZ – Breaking the stigmas associated with mental health does not happen overnight, but Leadership Seminar students are taking powerful measures to put these stigmas to rest and raise awareness for suicide prevention.
September is national suicide prevention month, but with the late start to school this year, Leadership students extended their efforts into October as well. During these months, Leadership students want to express to their peers that they are never alone when it comes to mental health and want to provide helpful resources to take preventative measures against suicide.
Senior and Leadership social media coordinator, Sophee McCabe expressed that, “The main message I want to spread to students is to ‘break the stigma’ and to not feel pressured to keep your feelings to yourself. Don’t feel like an outcast for feeling different than anyone else.”
Students involved in Leadership Seminar are eager to share with students that they aren’t alone in their struggles with mental health and that there are bountiful resources available to help students.
“I want to say that there are a lot of people who experience mental health issues. There are so many people that do but don’t say anything,” noted senior Jason Zheng on Leadership’s main message regarding suicide prevention. “They could even be your closest friends and they won’t tell you. That being said, my point is that if you are experiencing mental health issues, you aren’t alone. Mental health issues shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of.”
With the current pandemic, however, this message faces challenges in getting across to students. This is where Leadership students have gotten creative and put social media to good use.
McCabe also explained, “Social media is really helpful when spreading awareness about suicide prevention. Being the social media director of IHS Leadership, I can easily post about awareness, hotlines, and other useful information in a matter of seconds. Promoting suicide awareness is very different from last year because we now have to depend on social media to spread awareness.”
Leadership seminar is working to promote suicide awareness month in a variety of ways that go beyond videos and social media posts which will further get their message across.
“Leadership this year is promoting suicide prevention through two videos, t-shirts, and bracelets,” regarded senior Giavonna Spadafora. “Though we are limited this year with everything we can do, we are really making the most out of it! I’m so excited for the school to see the work of these videos once they are done.”
Challenges aside, IHS leaders from a multitude of different clubs and organizations are working to break the stigma on mental health and to educate their peers.
[Photo courtesy of Sophee McCabe]
Photo caption: “Leadership students are hard at work in preparation for Suicide Awareness Month”
Maggie is a senior and first-year reporter for the High Arrow. She enjoys playing tennis for the high school and being part of the IHS dance team. She is excited to start reporting for the High Arrow.