Mental Health Symposium Coming Up

P.A.C.K. Creates Live Forum, Students Share Mental Health Stories

Deana Trautz, Reporter

Since last year, students’ have been increasingly concerned about mental health issues. Clubs such as Safe Space and PACK were formed to help address these concerns and give people a voice, and this March 8, students are speaking out.

During DEN on March 8, there will be a Mental Health Symposium in the PAC where four student speakers will share their mental health stories. Not only is this to show that everyone is affected by mental health, but to in junior speaker Cameron Davis’ words, refuse the silence, reduce the stigma.

“Students are making insensitive statements that further separate those suffering from getting help,” Davis said.

In order to achieve a school culture that has no stigma behind mental health issues and makes students feel supported and safe, Davis says it is vital to attend the symposium.

“If you want to be part of the problem, stay silent,” Davis said. “If you want to create solutions, show up and show support for the sake of your classmates.”

Also speaking at the symposium is freshman Peyton Fehrenbach, who says how the speakers have the capability to change their peers’ idea of mental health problems.

“The speakers’ bravery will help the student body by being an example of struggle and breaking through obstacles,” Fehrenbach said. “I feel that students who once saw stereotypes will soon see human beings.”

Guidance counselor, Christina Hollander, says how she also agrees that talking about mental health in the terms that it is as serious as any other disease will help break the stigma.

“As a school counselor, I think understanding mental health is vital. The topic of mental health has such a negative stigma that students are afraid to talk about it,” Hollander said. “But the more we can talk about mental health as a disease like diabetes, something that students didn’t choose for themselves, the better others will understand.”

Hollander says that she has high hopes for the upcoming event.

“Having a mental health symposium this year will bring the conversation to the forefront again so we can continue the conversation,” Hollander said. “The more we can understand about the illness itself, the better we can support one another.”

The symposium will not be mandatory but highly recommended by students and staff. Students will be able to go to the PAC during DEN on March 8 to attend the symposium, there will be a question and answer portion available as well.