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Approaching May, it is Mental Health Awareness Month.

Alice Wang
The chalkboard design created by senior May Wu and the fifth graders

According to Mental Health America (MHA), nearly half of the Americans will experience a diagnosable mental health condition at some point in their lives, with half of them developing these conditions by the age of 14. 

Facilitating open conversations about mental health is believed to be one of the most effective ways to ensure individuals receive timely support. Thus, in 1949, MHA instituted Mental Health Awareness Month with the aim to increase awareness of the importance of mental health and well-being in the lives of Americans.

“We learn about different mental illnesses in Psychology, but not everybody has this class, so this month helps to normalize that there is a spectrum of mental health experiences for different people,” Hilary Staples, the AP Psychology teacher at San Domenico, said.

Last year during the Mental Health Awareness Month, senior May Wu collaborated with the lower school students to create a chalkboard design. Wu integrated elements from all fifth grade students’ artworks about mental health into a chalkboard design and finished coloring it with the kids together.

“It’s impressive to see the amount of students who already knew something about mental health,” Wu said. “I think it’s a good thing to have the lower school students who are going to enter middle school soon to begin such education.” 

As a school that deeply values relationships, communication, and mental health, SD not only offers Human Development classes to help students understand mental health, but also provides access to Laura Schulkin-Parnell, the main counselor on campus, for all students seeking support.

“Mental Health Awareness Month puts a spotlight on mental health and gives people an opportunity to learn about different coping skills,” Schulkin-Parnell said. “It also helps to normalize mental health issues.”

“Normalize” was brought up about twice in discussions about mental health. At the end of the day, Mental Health Awareness Month is about raising awareness of mental well-being but also to destigmatize conversations surrounding mental health, breaking down barriers and encouraging individuals to seek support and resources without fear of judgment or stigma.

This shift in perspective fosters an environment where everyone feels comfortable addressing their mental health needs and supporting others on their journey to well-being, and it is the environment that SD remains committed to cultivate.

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About the Contributor
Alice Wang
Alice Wang, Copy Editor
Alice Wang is a senior at San Domenico and a contributor for The Panther Press. She is an international student from China and loves traveling.

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