How much attention do you devote to your state of mind? How much do you think mental health, good or bad, can affect our everyday lives? Can you see yourself making a positive influence on your community through friends, family, or even strangers?
These are the questions the Delaware Suicide Prevention Coalition presented to students at Buckeye Valley Middle School and Hayes High School during 2015’s Mental Health Awareness Week (May 11 – 15). When I told some friends about this project, they raised concerns that the kids wouldn’t be interested in this type of discussion. And frankly, I worried the same thing at the start of this project. I certainly wasn’t asked to consider those kinds of things when I was 13. Any mental health issues in my community were “scary”, stigmatized, and kept behind a very thick veil of “you’re too young for this”.
On the other hand, that’s why this sort of discussion is important – and the students at these two schools absolutely rose to the challenge. In the 3 days I spent at Buckeye Valley and the two I spent at Hayes, I was floored with the amount of critical thought these kids put into our daily challenges. We asked them to push themselves to help others, better their communities, and savor life. The daily challenges of exercising, spending time with friends, being kind to others, and participating in hobbies/fun activities all lent themselves to Friday’s theme, discussing the importance of mental health in their community.
Over the next several weeks, this blog will explore the purpose of the daily challenges the Delaware Suicide Prevention Coalition proposed to the students each day of Mental Health Awareness Week. We challenge you, our readers, as well, to find the good in yourselves and those around you. Please help us in our mission to prevent depression, suicide, and other mental health problems in our community, and to promote good mental health for all.