A week of positivity for 52,000 Stark County Students

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Stark County Schools Mental Health Awareness Week is May 2-6. This week, Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health (C&A’s) and its community partners are using this opportunity to bring positive mental health awareness to more than 50,000 students all across Stark County.

Fifteen Stark County school districts have selected at least one student to discuss how that student views mental health. These students are known as a Stark County “mental health champion.”  All 27 student mental health champions created a short video answering a question about how they view mental health, how their friends look at mental health and what they personally do to help other students around them.

Each participating school district received a package of materials from C&A. The packages contained some items that allow for students to self-affirm, recognize and learn about mental health. People, specifically young people, assume mental health is something only certain individuals go through, but in reality, everyone faces mental health challenges in some way. A person does not always need to see a doctor to deal with mental health. Our physical health as well as our mental health are a normal part of being human.  If young students do not learn to identify mental health challenges, they are prone to a cycle of possible anxiety, stress and depression. This cycle can affect a person for their entire life, and sadly their children or peers can be affected. Understanding the importance of mental health at a young age is crucial to breaking the stigma and embracing the reality.

Stark County Schools Week

C&A is working with 14 area school districts to spread the message of positivity. There are activities and positive messages for students in high schools, middle schools and elementary schools. Each school in the district will be receiving bags filled with posters and positive affirmations for students.  Schools will be displaying their mental health champions all throughout the week. C&A is posting mental health champion peer-to-peer videos from March 7 to May 20 on social media channels to highlight all of the school's

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The theme for this year is, “You Are Not Alone.”This week is important for kids to be mindful of their own mental health, and it will be highly encouraged.

This year, our elementary schools will be receiving a poster that features elementary students. In addition, each student will be receiving an erasable bookmark. The idea behind these bookmarks is to allow for students to write their own positive affirmations. Each time they save their place in their books, the student can read the affirmation that they choose. If they would like to create new messages, they can because they can simply erase and replace! Principles will be reading a morning announcement each day with a positive affirmation.

Each middle school students will be receiving a mood changing pencils that change color as your body heat changes. The idea of the pencils is to represent your current mood by color. Along with the pencils they are receiving, students will also receive a JPEG self-affirmation image emailed to them daily throughout the week or through the Remind app. Principles will also be reading a morning announcement each morning with a positive affirmation. Between the self-affirmations, morning announcements and mood pencils, students will have many opportunities to be reminded of the importance of positive mental health during the week.

Student Items

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High school students will be receiving a JPEG self-affirmation that will be sent daily through email and/or the Remind app. Then, each of the schools has a mental health champion and will have their self-care videos played at their respective schools.  Each school will get a chance to listen to their peers discuss how they view the importance of mental health. The high school students will receive a special treat – The Ohio State University Head Football Coach Ryan Day.  C&A received a special video from Coach Day discussing the importance of physical and mental health. The students will also view a countywide unity video on mental health.  If the peer videos were not inspiration enough, Coach Day’s inspiring and powerful message should spark the minds of high school students.

Talking about mental health and understanding how to maintain your own mental health is important for student success and more importantly life success. The mental health champions are student representatives from each school that have been selected to create videos discussing the importance of mental health week and representing their school on a poster.

This week would not be made possible without our community partners – AultCare, Stark Mental Health and Addiction Recovery, Kent State University -Stark, State Farm agent Michael Dougan, Q-92 and  CommQuest Services.

C&A is thrilled oServiceur Stark County School Districts view the importance of presenting a week for students to engage in positive mental health. Raising the awareness on this topic can help so many students change their conversations with friends and families.

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To learn more about this program or any program or service offered at C&A, please call 330. 433.6075.

The author of this blog post is Sir Elliott, a junior at the University of Mount Union. Elliott interned with the Mission Advancement office during the spring semester.