The hashtag #worldmentalhealthday was trending on Twitter on October 10th, demonstrating the improvements being made in an effort to destigmatize discussions about mental health and mental illness.
Last year, every new edition of TFS’ Limited Edition included an article discussing wellness and/or mental health. From publishing articles about Seasonal Affective Disorder to spreading awareness on phobias and eating disorders, Limited Edition and the TFS community strive to include mental health in everyday discussions in order to end the stigma surrounding mental health and mental illness.
Recognizing World Mental Health Day as an important event, TFS students took it upon themselves to raise awareness through several activities scheduled throughout the day on October 10, 2019. Such activities were important in bringing mental health conversations into the limelight.
The activities were organized by the students that run the Mental Health Awareness Project (MHAP), a club that focuses on destroying stigma and encouraging discussions about mental health for the entirety of the TFS community. The members of this club organize several initiatives throughout the year and run meetings with their club members in order to reach their final goal.
Starting off the day on a high note, MHAP students wrote inscriptions on the sleeves of coffee cups, accessible to students in La Terrasse, the school cafeteria. The inscriptions were thought to serve as a pick-me-up for students. MHAP members thought it important to encourage all students who may be stressed as they approach the middle of the first term. The inscriptions on the coffee cup sleeves included sayings such as “You are not alone,” and “Progress over perfection,” among other encouraging messages.
The second initiative put forward by MHAP students and the wellness prefects were photoshoots that took place in the student commons during the Lycée students’ lunchtime. Displaying similar messages to those of the coffee cup sleeves, the posters that students and staff posed with were another means to communicate encouraging messages to the students about mental health and mental health awareness. These photoshoots also served as a vehicle to allow students to feel comfortable posting about World Mental Health Day online.
The final activity organized by the heads of MHAP and the well-being prefects was karaoke in the Level V room during the Lycée lunch. The karaoke was a method to reduce the stress of students through song and dance, a change of atmosphere to the regular school day. Older students were encouraged to join in this activity. Speaking for the Level Vs, I am confident that the karaoke lifted the spirits of the older students, despite any stress they may be dealing with.
World Mental Health Day is an important event that occurs once a year. However, many TFS students – as demonstrated through their enthusiasm to get involved in the festivities of World Mental Health Day – recognize that mental health and mental illness are critical topics that must be discussed regularly in school environments.
Mental Health Awareness Project student leaders are adamant in emphasizing that, although not all people suffer from mental illness, every person on Earth has mental health and should be aware of its importance.