New Wilson club aims to combat mental health stigma

Sabina Harrison

Andrew Dong

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To celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month for the first time, Wilson’s new Mental Health Awareness Club (MHAC) organized a variety of fun, charitable, and informative activities. The activities were centered on creating awareness around mental health.

MHAC sponsor English teacher Natalie Zuravleff wants to ensure that students know that they are not isolated in their mental health issues. She said the goal of Wilson’s participation was to break the silence and make sure students know they’re not alone.

MHAC student leader junior Sabina Harrison hopes students will eventually understand the need to talk about mental health. “Mental health has had a huge stigma related to it and we are always told that we shouldn’t talk about it, but we do need to talk about it because kids are killing themselves and people are struggling,” she said.

Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed nationally in May for 70 years, with the first one taking place in 1949. The idea was started by the nonprofit organization Mental Health America, which aimed to spread information regarding mental health issues across the nation.

One of the activities used to spread awareness was a banner located in the atrium, where students could write about their struggles with mental health on post-it notes. “Seeing [the poster] fill up just reinforces that nobody, no matter how lonely they think they are, really are alone in their struggle with mental health” Zuravleff said. Another activity was a table in the atrium set up with information about mental health disorders. “We want students to know the resources that are available to them in this school,” said Zuravleff.

Students were also encouraged to all wear green on May 24th, and had the opportunity to hit teachers in the face with pies. The proceeds of the pie fundraiser will go towards teacher training programs about mental health.

To show support for mental health, students wore green ribbons throughout May.