Categories Elizabethtown Area School DistrictFeaturedNewsSchoolSchool Events

High School Marks Mental Health Awareness Month

Elizabethtown Area Communities That Care and the Elizabethtown Area High School’s Paws and Think Club is bringing the theme of mental health awareness to the forefront this month. The purpose of the campaign is to encourage students to learn the five signs of depression, how to get help for their peers or themselves when mental health issues arise, and to create a school culture where students feel comfortable asking for help. The Paws and Think Club spreads the word about the positive, healthy choices EAHS students are making in their lives.

Throughout the month the club will be sharing information about mental health through videos on the morning announcements and posters in the halls and bathrooms. A social media campaign is planned to go along with the “#BeTheChange” for the month. Students will be encouraged to take a selfie which shows their own hand with the words “I am the Change” written on it in the foreground. This represents their pledge to know the five signs and their willingness
to support their peers. The five signs of depression are; personality change, agitation, withdrawal, poor self-care and hopelessness. An emphasis is also being placed on having the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Text Crisis Line on their devices. Students who put the numbers on their phones will be entered into a drawing for a gift card.

In addition, along with Physical Education teacher Shane Kargo, Paws and Think has organized three mornings when students can meet to learn and practice meditation techniques. Kargo teaches the Mind and Body class which focuses on mindfulness, nutrition, current events in health, and brain training. This is an effort to promote mindfulness and the practice of the healthy habits of emotional well-being. Mental Health Awareness Month is one of the manyinitiatives of Paws and Think. Throughout the school year the group hosts activities and sponsors events promoting the realitythat most students are making healthy decisions. The club adviser is Ken
Boland; the EACTC liaison is Amy McEvoy.

EACTC is a community organization committed to improving the lives of children, youth, and families in the Elizabethtown area. Using research-based programs, initiatives, and strategies, the organization guides and encourages youth in making positive choices about alcohol, drugs, and other high-risk behaviors. EACTC partners with the schools, parents, churches and businesses to make positive changes in the community.

If you or someone you know needs help contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Crisis Text Line by texting the word “SIGNS” to 741741.

About the author