You are one in a Million(aire)

To provide information to students about mental health as well as resources available to them, both through the school and the community, on Jan. 13 and Jan. 15 Williamsport Area School District’s psychologist Keri Nasdeo and social worker Heather Way held a mental health awareness event for high school students during lunch in hopes that talking about mental health can minimize the stigma surrounding it.

“This presentation is about promoting positivity, making every student know they’re special and that they have something to offer,” Nasdeo said.

Nasdeo and Way hold a mental health project every year around winter break or shortly thereafter.

“We understand that this time of year can be hard on some students and their families,” Nasdeo said.

The cafeteria, on both days, had a booth set up along with a banner that read “One In A Million(aire).” There were baskets of red bracelets that read “1/1,000,000,” pins from National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), small candy bars with a strip of paper attached with a crisis text line, t-shirts and brochures.

The goal is to continue to approach the subject in many different ways in an effort to reach as many kids possible. In this instance, if students notice other students wearing some of the accessories, they may ask questions. Those questions may naturally lead to conversations that heighten awareness on the subject.

The free handouts and brochures were provided by West Branch Drug and Alcohol, NAMI and School Wide Positive Behavior funds. In addition to the free handouts and information, there was also a pile of cards on the table. Students were invited to fill out the cards with a sentence or two about what makes them special. The cards will be displayed on a bulletin board in the hub.

The initiative was well received by students and staff.

“It was pretty effective in what it was trying to achieve. It got all the students who participated involved in mental health awareness,” said Cadence Copson, sophomore.

“I think this was a great positive message for the school to be sending. I believe all the students appreciate the support shown by everyone involved in the presentation,” added Teagan Marty, sophomore.