Mental Health Awareness Month: how it is being acknowledged

During+lunch%2C+Luc+Gourmelom+%289%29%2C+Matthew+Johnson+%289%29%2C+and+Koen+Martineau+%289%29%2C+play+Cornhole+during+%22Fun+Friday%22.+The+counseling+department+organized+the+event+with+the+intention+to+get+kids+moving.+

Sophie Barkett

During lunch, Luc Gourmelom (9), Matthew Johnson (9), and Koen Martineau (9), play Cornhole during “Fun Friday”. The counseling department organized the event with the intention to get kids moving.

During the month of May, students and staff can bring awareness to mental health, which has become a problem for many people after months of isolation and uncertainty brought about by COVID. 

The counseling department has planned a week’s worth of activities in hopes of increasing awareness of mental health and any negative stigmas associated with it.

On Monday,  the on-campus social worker Lindsay Taylor recorded a tiktok that was presented to the students, showing a “mindful minute”. In this minute, students were encouraged to relax and focus on their breathing. For Tip Tuesday, students and staff were reminded to lift one another up. On Wellness Wednesday, students were urged to connect with mental health and to focus on wellness. Think Positive Thursday encouraged students to write and share five positive things with their peers. For Fun Friday, students were urged to be active and get moving.  

Our goal in promoting Mental Health Awareness Month is to break the stigma of mental health issues. It is okay to not be okay and we want to teach our community positive coping skills to use when they are having a bad day”, said Counselor Holli Cagle. The school currently offers support groups and the Wellness Room for those in need. 

The Wellness Room is led by Taylor and offers a calm, safe space for students who may be struggling, whether they have an appointment or an immediate need. 

Plans are underway to incorporate mental health in the athletic department. Next year, several sports teams will participate in the Move ONE Million Organization, founded by Chris Powell. The idea behind this program is to get people active and practicing mindfulness. 

Teams were going to participate this year however, due to time constraints and other complications, the athletic department has delayed their involvement. The athletes are still hopeful for the program and what it can achieve. “I hope to impact as many people and lives as possible, I mean I know it’s small and here at Perry we can only do so much, but even if we help 100 kids that’s 100 more people that we’ve helped,” said junior and varsity football captain, Mason Mesias. 

The program, along with the weekly “Fun Friday” at student’s lunches, hopes to boost movement and mindfulness. “It will help students want to go to the gym and want to be outside rather than sitting in their room and stuff,” said junior Steven Hernandez. 

Throughout May, the school hopes to normalize mental health discussions, and to give information to those who may benefit from mindful practices. For more information and resources students can contact the counseling department, and visit the Wellness Room in C105.