May is Mental Health Awareness month, but what does that mean and why is it so important?
Starting in 1949, mental health organizations have been trying to get people the right assistance when it comes to their mental well being. Though there is always mental guidance available, in May there are more events to get people to talk about mental health.
When the idea first came about to make the whole month of May into Mental Health Awareness Month, the idea was to get the conversation started to break the negativity behind getting help.
It is no secret that back in 1949 all the way into the early 2000’s that there weren't a lot of good things that came from getting help. People would say that those who would go to receive help were mentally insane and oftentimes would send them to a mental institution.
But we now understand mental illness so much better that there is more of a push to get help when you need it. People are now more worried about how you are actually doing and it is vital.
During May, there are more organizations brought to the light so that people can actually see them and go get the right tools to help them. These people offer screenings and therapeutic treatments. They are also going into schools to teach teens and children about the importance of mental health.
At Berthoud High School, our teachers and faculty put mental health at the top of their priority list. Our counseling staff has many opportunities for students to come in and discuss their mental state.
I got the chance to talk to one of our BHS counselors, Mr. Jennings, about the importance of mental health in Berthoud.
“Having a month for mental health is great, but it is something that needs to continue throughout the year. It is something that is of most importance. At BHS we are trying our best to support students as much as we can.”
In the past the office has passed out wristbands to raise awareness, however with Covid shutting down a lot of old traditions like that are frowned upon. Plus with everything about this year being so up in the air, the office is working hard on graduation to give the class of 2021 a proper graduation.
However the school is very invested in the students’ mental health. There is now a Zen Zone upstairs that is to help students catch their breath when they are stressed or anxious.
“Having a space where students can feel comfortable and safe while facing their anxiety head on. It is something that makes me excited for more students to take advantage of.”, Coach D explained.
Coach D is a life coach here at BHS who helps students who are struggling to open up about what they are facing. An environment like the one she has created for students is designed for kids to feel safe in times of distress.
Of course there are other mental health oriented things happening here. There are programs like Sources of Strength by Ms. Lanter which is meant to help students who need extra support but are actively looking for it. It is a group of fellow students who help make those who need the support feel less afraid to talk about it.
But we must not forget about fellow students who are making a difference by themselves. Senior, Sarah Kouns has been contacting mental health care professionals to speak to students over Zoom calls about various methods of help.
So as the month of May continues don’t forget to take time to reflect and care for your own mental health. There is no shame in getting support and it is an amazing first step.
If you or someone you know is struggling there are more than these ways to get help. Check out my other article for more virtual ways to get support because your mental health matters!