This past Sunday, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) took to walking with members and supporters through the Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland in the hopes of raising $225,000 for mental health services.
Many walking had a special connection to the cause, and in an interview with KATU2, one young woman involved with NAMI explained her reason for walking. Having to resort to a hospital stay for emotional distress, Trillian Stanton realized the importance of support in recovering from mental illness. This realization is what inspired her to create Project Self-Care.
The project creates self-care boxes with various comforting items, such as fun snacks, journals, coloring books, a fidget toy. Each box also includes a handwritten note letting the recipient know that he or she is in someone’s thoughts. She states in her explanation of the project that “the idea behind project self care is to remind people that they are worth loving, we give them the materials to then use to help nurture themselves when they are in times of crisis.”
In the interview, Stanton stated, “When you’re in the middle of the night, and you want to not be here anymore, and you open this kit and you’re trying to take care of yourself, and you’ll think, ‘look at how much the community wanted to take care of me.'” She hopes this feeling of community will help those struggling with mental illness.
In the past three months, she has already given out 30 kits and is currently fundraising for $1,200 to help her project.
Stanton is not the only one however attempting to help those with mental illnesses in Oregon.
In a statewide study released earlier this year, Oregon was found to have a higher than average number of teens struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts. 1 in 5 people will experience a mental health issue in a year, but in Oregon, the average was actually 1 out of 3 students.
Multnomah County is currently taking measures to counteract this statistic by providing services in the schools, including providing specific people to talk to or a place to get more professional, serious help. The County health offices now also provide resources on their website as well as a through a phone line 24/7.
David Hidalgo, Director for Multnomah County Mental Health and Addiction Services, stated in an interview with KATU2, “For students, being able to have a healthy mind is critical to being successful in school.”
The supervisor for School Based Mental Health in Multnomah County, Stephen Dunlevy, also stated in the interview the importance of teen’s mental health and the need to reduce the stigma. “It’s important that we reduce stigma so that getting access to mental health services is just like going to your doctor.
Jack Schumacher is an eighth-grade student at Straub Middle School in Salem, Oregon and facing a difficult challenge compared to most students his age: bone cancer. He is currently at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon, fighting hard to recover.
However, he’s not alone in his fight against cancer. The middle school had a pep rally for Jack on Friday morning to support him.
In an interview with Koin6, The Principal, Laura Perez, explained, ” When we found out that Jack had cancer, leadership kids wanted to do something more, so they started selling boo grams.”
In the end, the kids raised over $1,000 for Jack’s treatment, and Jack’s friend, Brayden, who had also been diagnosed with cancer two years earlier, was able to present the check. Even though Jack could not be physically present at the rally and had to FaceTime in, several of his family members were there to accept the check, and his entire family was very moved by the show of support.
Jack’s grandmother, Pam Tucker, stated in the interview, “I’m so overwhelmed with what these kids did for Jack.”
Principal Perez was very proud of the leadership students that took the initiative to raise the money. “This is what we want kids to be learning, is how to care for one another.”
Kyle Hubler, a Hillsboro teacher at Evergreen Middle School, worked this summer to redesign his entire classroom into Hogwarts, the magical, castle-like school in Harry Potter.
The classroom has everything imaginable: feathered pens, brick wallpaper, a chess set, stone owls, cauldrons, and even keys hanging from the ceiling.
In an interview with Koin6, he said, “I’ve been collecting this stuff since I was in middle school. Most of it came from my garage.”
He hopes that by decorating the classroom like the general setting of the favorite children’s novel, he will keep the students’ attention as well as show them that he cares about them. “Once they understand that I care about them, then they can actually start to care about what I’m going to teach them”, Huber stated. “That’s really fulfilling to me.”
A 16 year old high school junior from Sherman Oaks, CA has created an app to help bullied students find a safe place to have lunch and make new friends.
The teen, Natalie Hampton, was inspired to create “Sit With Us” through her experience of being ostracized by classmates in the school cafeteria.
“At my old school, I was completely ostracized by all of my classmates, and so I had to eat lunch alone every day. When you walk into the lunchroom and you see all the tables of everyone sitting there and you know that going up to them would only end in rejection, you feel extremely alone and extremely isolated, and your stomach drops,” Natalie said.
Eventually, Natalie switched schools and made new friends, but the experience stuck with her and motivated her to help others in the same situation.
Sit With Us is a free lunch-planning app that allows students to sign up as ambassadors for a Sit With Us club and to post open lunches. Other students who have nowhere to sit can use the app to find open lunches to join and make new friends.
Natalie has received support and positive feedback about Sit With Us. “So far, the results have been very, very positive. I had my first club meeting the other day, and everyone was very excited. And people are already posting open lunches at my school. So I’m very excited that things are already kicking off with a great start,” she said.
Sit With Us launched on September 9 and is available on The Apple Store.
Fathers gathered at schools across the Jackson Public School District in Mississippi to cheer on students as they arrived to take standardized exams. The fathers high-fived students, cheering and sharing words of encouragement to boost students’ morale.