Mental Health Matters: Suicide prevention month increases mental health awareness

The Wellness Center and Student Government at GBHS collaborate in efforts to end the stigma in regards to talking about mental health on campus.

In+the+Suicide+Prevention+video%2C+counselors+in+the+Wellness+Center+provide+information+regarding+mental+health+services+available+to+students+during+distance+learning.+

Alexandra Felt

In the Suicide Prevention video, counselors in the Wellness Center provide information regarding mental health services available to students during distance learning.

In the past few years, Granite Bay High School has seen an increase in pushing for mental health awareness by putting more emphasis on the Suicide Prevention Month during September and resources provided by the Wellness Center. 

This year for Suicide Prevention Month, the Wellness Center created a video describing symptoms of someone who may be suicidal, and recommended lots of resources for students to seek help. Tying into this, Student Government partnered with the Wellness center to make this year’s Ripple Effect Week centered around mental health.

“We think about what needs are on campus and try to address those in a positive way during Ripple Effect Week,” GBHS Student Government teacher Tamara Givens said.  “Our focus in student government is to try and improve the culture of Granite Bay High School. We do that in all kinds of ways.”

This year’s Ripple Effect week included a video put out on September 28 by the Wellness Center detailing how to get help, daily activities, daily quotes posted by 2nd period teachers, and another video explaining the importance of this year’s Ripple Effect theme.

The second video stated that Student Government wants “to make a lasting impact here at GB in creating these connections and sharing this information (on mental health).” 

Last year for Suicide Prevention Month, an awareness video featured students talking about their previous experiences suicide attempts and their struggle with mental health. One of those students is 2020 graduate Molly McEvoy. 

“They did a great job with the video and the program, and I appreciate that the wellness center is there for students when they need it,” McEvoy said. “I feel like (these issues) are not spoken about the rest of the school year. I went to GBHS all four years. It was the only time when I was a part of this program that I felt like they were discussing it more than they had before.”

Along these lines, GBHS principal Jennifer Leighton also emphasized the importance of mental health.

“In the past few years, mental health has become more of an emphasis throughout the district,” Leighton said. “Part of creating a safe and inclusive learning environment means paying attention to how students are feeling, and the advent of the Wellness Centers has caused a huge shift in how we approach the whole student.”

McEvoy believes there should be a larger emphasis on this topic going forward. 

(Mental health) needs to be a bigger part of school culture because it’s a bigger part of students’ lives”

— Molly McEvoy

“(Mental health) needs to be a bigger part of school culture because it’s a bigger part of students’ lives,” McEvoy said.

Leighton talked further about the importance of understanding mental health at GBHS.

“Surveys have shown that students are stressed about grades, college acceptance and their futures more than ever,” Leighton said. “The staff has identified that they want to give students tools to manage in this environment of high expectations, so mental health awareness will continue to be a goal here at GB. I’m very appreciative of our Wellness Center – they are working beside all of us as we struggle to make sense of life in a pandemic and a time of racial unrest. We really couldn’t do any of this work without them!”

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