Students plan mental health awareness week and fundraiser

Students plan mental health awareness week and fundraiser

It’s relatively easy to get people behind raising money for the less fortunate. It’s easy to be backed up when trying to raise money for a natural disaster, major virus, or outbreak of disease. It’s human nature to want to help when you can clearly see the devastation surrounding the people. However, when the issue is hidden with ease and people are taught to shove it in a corner, the cause is not so easily heard.

Senior Emma Yoder and junior Claire Baguley face this feat as they co-plan a charity basketball game set to take place this winter. While this is their third and second winter charity games that they have played major roles in, this year’s topic may be the most difficult: mental health awareness.

“It’s hard to get people excited about mental health,” Emma said. “Last year we did pediatric cancer, and people could go, “yeah let’s help.a�� But that was an easier topic to talk about, so it’s easy for people to get behind it because it’s a terrible thing. But, I think showing that mental health can be just as devastating as pediatric cancer if it’s not treated the right way is just as important.”

However, both girls are taking on the challenge with stride, planning a full week of activities to participate in during school to help raise awareness for the cause. All these events will lead up to a fundraising basketball game on Jan 19 against Lowell.

i understand

Emma and Claire have teamed up with the organization i understand. Started by Vonnie Woodrick, i understand fundraises and provides help for people going through tough battles with mental health issues. All money fundraised during the week and at the game will be donated to this particular organization as it is mainly based in FHC’s community, which led Emma and Claire to choose it.

“i understand is an organization that was started by Vonnie Woodrick [after] her husband passed away because of a mental illness,” Emma said. “[Because of this], i understand is really focusing on the stigma surrounding mental health and stomping on that stigma. We want to take that and bring it to FHC to show that we as students do understand what you’re going through; we understand that it’s okay that you’re going through that, and we should help you be accepting [too].”

The Basketball Tournament

The kick-off to the week will be a 3v3 basketball tournament open to all ages. All teams will be required to provide a small fee in order to participate; however, 100% of the fee will be donated towards i understand.

“I’m planning the 3v3 tournament on Monday since we don’t have school that day,” Claire said. “We are going to try to get boys from younger grades to participate, and the Varsity Basketball teams will be reffing the 3v3 games. So that should be fun.”

Both girls have high hopes for the tournament as it will not only be fun for all involved, but a great way to fundraise.

“We’re hoping to have a couple brackets,” Emma said. “We’re hoping to have enough people to have a 5/6th bracket, a middle school bracket, and of course, a high school bracket. Depending on how many people show up we’re thinking about having a boys league and a co-ed league for high schoolers, and for the younger grades, having a boys and girls league. I’m really excited about it because I think it’s a great way to start off the week.”

The rest of the week

Throughout the rest of the week leading up to the basketball games, both Emma and Claire have planned an array of activities to help get people in the spirit of the week and have a better understanding of mental health.

“That week we are having a week of understanding,” Emma said. “So, each day will be themed. For example, “I understand depression,a�� or “I understand anxiety.’ We have a few activities to do in the school and a few activities for the basketball teams to do that will bring in those themes.”

They are planning many activities such as adult coloring pages for “I understand anxiety” and notes to pass to friends you’re thinking of (similar to flower grams). These notes can either be delivered personally or anonymously through the basketball teams.

“It can be anything just as simple as writing a letter to someone thanking them for doing something or realizing that they are doing something and kind of acknowledging something that they’ve done for you or something that’s awesome about them,” Emma said.

They are also planning on handing out notecards throughout the week so that students and staff can display what they have learned throughout the week.

“It’s kind of focusing on the positive aspect of mental health,” Emma said, “[like how] you do have support, and you do have people who understand what you are going through. So we are going to make those through lunch [during the week]. Then at the game, we are hoping to put those on the windows in the gym lobby so they are full of [the cards].”

These large activities combined with smaller ones such as viewing videos about mental health on FX will combine to create a positive week celebrating not only the recognition of mental health but also the things staff and students can do to help those who are struggling.

“Whether they be videos people in the class make or videos we find online,” Claire said, “we want to kind of get people in the mood and make people aware of what’s going on during the week.”

All of these activities will lead to the final basketball games, both against Lowell on Friday. The game will also serve as a final fundraiser and recognition of all the hard work and learning that occurred throughout the week.

“We want to put a positive spin on the game,” Claire said, “[and make it about] not really the bad things about mental health and mental illness. We want to talk about what you can do to get help and ways to get better.”