Senior Allison Shi took a moment to talk about "Students for Mental Health Awareness," a student-founded, student-led organization, now in its 2nd year.
What do you hope to accomplish this year in SMHA?
We hope to spread awareness of mental health issues throughout GCA. As a club, we understand the magnitude of the problems mental illnesses and even minute cases of mental disorders cause, especially at the middle school and high school age range. If we can encourage even one student to seek help or lessen the stigma surrounding the topic of mental health just a little bit, we will consider our efforts not expended in vain.
What is the purpose of SMHA?
Our purpose is very simple: to spread mental health awareness in our school. Our slogan is "mental health matters," which to us means that any issue regarding the well-being of your mental state must be taken seriously. Approximately 21% of American youth ages 13-18 experiences a major mental disorder sometime in their life. But even if they don't have a mental illness, students struggle with mental issues everyday, including small doses of anxiety, short periods of depression, low self esteem, overwhelming stress, body dysmorphia, etc. The point is, even if you don't have a diagnosable psychological disease, you still need to take care of your mental health.
How did last year go for SMHA?
Last year was SMHA's first year of meetings. It was important to us that we lay the foundations of our club out before we began branching out into promotion. We discussed what we believed about mental illness as a club, what our goals were, how we could effectively execute our goals, and how we could tailor the experience specifically to GCA students. Now that we have a game plan, we are excited to start interacting more with the student body during the 2016/2017 school year.