Mental Health Club Mural

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Niamh Cranny, Staff Reporter

Archmere’s  Mental Health Club has been preparing for a new project. During freshman and sophomore health classes, the club has had all students write on notecards their thoughts and what’s on their mind. Provisions like pencils, markers, crayons, magazines, and other supplies allowed students to make their thoughts creative. This exercise has multiple purposes, including the cathartic process of writing down one’s innermost thoughts can provide. 

One of the coordinators of this project, sophomore Taylor Fallers, says that the idea came from a subway wall in New York City where people write their personal thoughts and ideas. She has been working with this idea since last year, but unfortunately, it couldn’t be put into action because of online school after March. Now, Taylor is thrilled to see her vision in play:  “I think it’s going to be such a statement… it’s going to grab people’s attention, and it will embrace topics that aren’t talked about.” 

Mental health awareness has become a core focus for Archmere’s health classes. Ms. Pileggi, the moderator of the club, tries to focus on visibility in all of her health classes. Visibility is teaching and learning about mental health issues and making Archmere students more aware of why mental health is significant in our lives, especially for teenagers. By focusing on this important topic, the lesson of people easily hiding their mental struggles is brought up.

Fallers says that bringing visibility to mental health can educate us all about preconceived notions people might have on the state of somebody’s health when in reality, one can never know the thoughts and emotions of everyone at once. Fallers said, “people are going through things behind closed doors, and a smile can hide that.” She joined the club for her own interest to find out what mental health is. That is precisely why the Mental Health Club here at Archmere tries to spread awareness and education of mental well-being or lack thereof. 

Some examples of last year’s awareness activities included the banana costume, post-it notes on the bathroom mirrors, and informational flyers. To start, the banana costume exemplified how it is not as easy to tell who is battling with a mental issue like it is to point out a person in a banana costume. All week long, students questioned who was wearing that and why, and then at the end of the week the deeper meaning was revealed. The club used it as a fun way to bring important ideas of mental health awareness to the table. 

In addition, a second activity last year was the supportive post-it-notes stuck to the bathroom mirrors. In particular, these little messages were meant to foster more confidence for pupils in light of Eating Disorder Week. Fallers was glad to be a part of these projects: “It’s just so interesting to be educated and to do these awesome activities to spread awareness.” 

Altogether, these projects were meant to involve the Archmere community in the Mental Health Club, whether they were a member or not as well as to raise thoughtful conversations among students and faculty. 

Moving forward from last year’s activities, a mural is planned for this year. All of the anonymously-written student note cards from Health classes will be put together as one mosaic-like unit along the windows in the SLC. Fallers hopes the messages “will grab people’s attention,” and bring new conversations to Archmere. Students might feel validated in their similarities with their peers’ notecards as if to say they aren’t the only one. Fallers said, “people are sometimes scared to say what’s on  their mind.” 

The anonymous aspect of the notecards is significant: it’s comforting to see your own intimate voice shared with others, in a way that they cannot judge the person behind the voice. By opening people’s eyes to others’ mental health, Archmere can become a more accommodating and conscious community.

 

Any questions? Want to join the Mental Health Club? Talk to Mrs. Pileggi, or the club leaders Isabelle Hanlon and Addie Czachor.