Conant students motivated by the annual Mental Health Awareness Fair

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    The stress relief table where students received free resources.
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    Tricia Jonker and Nicole Barrett stand alongside the table from the Kenneth Young Center.
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    Left to right, Tiffani Yoo, Haruka Smith, Amanda Skittone, Anissa Patterson, and Simran Rathod stand at the SAGA table.
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    SAGA's display board with resources for students and information about the club.
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    The fair located in the cafeteria hallway.

The Student Services department hosted the annual Mental Health Awareness Fair at Conant during lunch periods on Friday, December 11. Students could visit an array of stations, including a “positive thoughts” board, a stress relief table, and representatives from the Kenneth Young Center. The main purpose was letting people know that there are solutions to every problem and that help is always available.

Students were allowed to walk around the fair during their lunch periods to learn about mental health issues and solutions such as those specific to end depression and suicidal thoughts. Tricia Jonker, the Coordinator of the Adolescent & Young Adult Team at the Kenneth Young Center in Elk Grove, said, “Students need to know how to get help for their friends because often kids don’t tell adults. They just tell their friends, [and] after today, people will know the right thing to do.” She encourages people to speak out to a trusted adult or a counselor.

“The first thing is that if you’re feeling anxious, stressed, depressed, or whatever is going on in your life is OK. You’re not the only one going through this,” said Blue Team Psychologist Ashley Langley. “The hope is that people will come to the fair and receive some sort of resources.” She also encourages students who are experiencing anxiety to go to Student Services and speak to a counselor.

Free resources were handed out at the event for a variety of reasons. For the sense of touch, fuzz and stress balls were given away; for smell, candles; for sight, adult coloring pages; and for taste, mints. “The idea is that you’ll have something on hand, whether it is a small little bag in your book bag or a much larger kit,” said Langley. “It really touches the senses and makes sure you’re getting positive support from that sense.”

A positive thoughts board was on display as a movement to motivate students using Post-It notes with quotes written on them. Sophomore Tia Devito sat at the table and said, “The purpose of the board is to make the unhappy people happy, and the happy people happier.” The board displayed motivational quotes like “Do your best” and “It’s OK not to be OK.”  Students were given the opportunity to post their own quote on the board.

SAGA (Sexuality and Gender Alliance), previously known as Gay-Straight Alliance, also had a table at the event, providing information about the LGBT community. Junior Simran Rathod said, “This table shows that there is a place where the LGBT community in this school can gather and be called a community.”

Overall, the fair provided students a variety of resources and let them know that they are not alone, no matter their situation.

Dylan Toth

Dylan is a junior, and his third year writing for the Crier. Dylan is the co-founder of Cougar Service Club. In his free time, he enjoys to watch Grey's Anatomy on Netflix and cook. Dylan is a member of Boy Scouts of America and is almost an Eagle Scout! In the future, Dylan would like to become a teacher or go into politics.

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