During the first week of October, Leonia High School recognized Mental Illness Awareness Week in order to raise awareness about mental health and provide support to those dealing with their own personal battles.
In 1990, Congress officially established October 1 to October 7 as Mental Illness Awareness Week in recognition of NAMI’s (National Alliance on Mental Illness) efforts to promote important values in society as well as break the stigma against discussing mental health. At Leonia High School, students and staff recognize the importance of bringing light to the mental health cause and active participation can be seen by several students and teachers.
When asked if she was aware of Mental Illness Awareness Week, senior Melaki Aligo stated,”I was not aware of mental health week. I think it’s because it was not announced as much as it should have been in the school.” Melaki, along with other students, agree that Leonia High School does a great job in highlighting significant matters, however Mental Health Week was one that had not been mentioned.
Tyler Makroulakis, a junior, was asked about how he would raise awareness for this week. In response, he said, “As someone with social media, I believe it is important to use your platform to promote positivity and raise awareness on serious issues such as that of Mental Health Awareness Week.” Tyler continued to explain that connecting with others online can benefit the whole community and bring effective change.
Yoobi Kim, member of Empowering Minds Club in LHS, shared her stance on Mental Health Week as well. When asked about how she will actively engage in her club in support of Mental Illness Awareness Week, she stated, “As an officer of the Empowering Minds Club, I want to get us involved with other programs that are fighting for the same causes.” She continued, “I have been trying to collaborate with Montclair University’s ‘Active Minds’ program that empowers students to increase awareness about mental health issues.”
As members of society and students at Leonia High School, it is our job to bring light to the importance of mental health and promote a safe, inclusive, and non-harmful environment for everyone to thrive in. Mental Illness Awareness Week was created to strengthen this idea. Raising awareness about mental health or simply offering to listen to someone’s problems can make a huge impact.
Edited by: Katerina Romanides