New Club Aims to Increase Mental Health Awareness on Campus

在过去的几年里, Williston has made strides to increase their awareness surrounding the mental health of students. The school has brought in numerous speakers and directed attention to Suicide Prevention Week, which takes place in September. Now, a new club is taking a more “active” role around mental health on campus.

Active Minds is a brand-new club this fall, and is led in part by Christa Talbot-Syfu, Senior Associate Director of 入学, in partnership with Anne Zager, 学校辅导员. Talbot-Syfu says Active Minds exists “to change the conversation around mental health and encourage those that need help to seek help.”

在周六, 9月30日, Active Minds planned their first large fundraiser with the help of the girls varsity soccer team, hosting a “Green Out” during their night game. The club sold green bandanas for $2 in the days leading up to the event, as well as during the game.

Talbot-Syfu said the event was a great kick off to the year.

“The green bandana project tends to be a great first fundraiser and event, so we decided to try to find a date in September that gave us some time to get the group up and running,”她说。.

Jayme Cerasuolo, 汉普顿的大二学生, 麻萨诸塞州, and a first-year member of the Girls Soccer team, helped bring the club from her old school to Williston.

“I feel Active Minds is a very important club because mental health for student athletes is often stigmatized and not talked about enough, 尽管许多人为此挣扎,”她说。. “By spreading the awareness of mental health, which is what active minds does, it makes the culture surrounding mental health more talked about.”

Catie Spence, co-captain of the soccer team and senior from Amherst, Mass., appreciated the large attendance and noted the importance of supporting an organization like Active Minds.

“Having such a great turnout created an awesome energy at the game that really fueled our play. The cheering from the stands definitely contributed to our win and gave us that extra edge over WMA,”她说。. “Knowing that we were playing for a cause greater than ourselves was incredibly meaningful. The cause is close to all of us, and our victory was that much more special knowing that it contributed to the fight for mental health awareness and advocacy.”

The Bandana Project “is a mental health awareness and suicide prevention campaign that uses backpacks and bandanas to support peers in getting help,根据他们的网站. It was formed in 2014 on the River Falls campus of the University of Wisconsin by Dr. Betsy Gerbec, who lost her son to suicide in 2012. 他一直戴着发带, so that became the main symbol and namesake for the project moving forward.

Zager praised the openness the Active Minds club is bringing to Williston.

“Active Minds causes more students to talk openly about mental health and wellness in everyday conversations. When these conversations are normalized, the hope is everyone will feel more at ease talking about how they’re doing—whether it’s a hard day or a great day or anything in between,”她说。.

Zager also disclosed the club’s future plans, saying that they intend to host “at least one big meeting each month,” specifically on blue Friday mornings. She also hopes to plan their next big event “in the next few weeks,” mentioning that several Williston teams “have expressed interest in planning something with Active Minds.”

Mental health has become a greater and greater problem among teenagers and young adults in the past few years. 根据疾控中心, “more than 4 in 10 (42%) students felt persistently sad or hopeless and nearly one-third (29%) experienced poor mental health” in 2021. 另外, “more than 1 in 5 (22%) students seriously considered attempting suicide and 1 in 10 (10%) attempted suicide.”

Zager believes Active Minds and Williston students are working to change that.

“Youth are speaking out and leading the charge.  Every time an actor or an athlete or any kind of role model shares their story about mental health, these topics and experiences grow a little less hidden, and others are inspired to open up and seek support as well.”

Cerasulo honored by KyleCares for bringing Active Minds to two schools

Cerasulo’s involvement with Active Minds at Williston comes after she helped bring the group to her public high school, Minnechaug Regional High School in Wilbraham, 麻萨诸塞州. 对于她的努力,这个团体, which is based in 麻萨诸塞州 and helps schools get funding to establish Active Minds chapters, honored her with a Student Spotlight in its recent newsletter. 点击这里 to read their feature about Cerasulo.