CHICO – Mental health can sometimes be a struggle for all human beings, and students at Bidwell Junior High School on Friday got a first look at how to educate themselves and help others facing mental health issues Got it.
In partnership with the Butte County Behavioral Health Prevention Unit, Butte County Office of Education and Bidwell Junior High staff, the school organizes two two-hour sessions to help students become wellness ambassadors by educating them about mental health stigma. were devoted. Someone they know may be struggling and how can they help. According to Bidwell Junior High Principal David McKay, the program was a pilot and will be followed with six booster sessions and will officially begin in August, with weekly trainings.
Around 35 students participated in the afternoon session. Sessions were not required. The students volunteered to work for him.
“We’re equipping them with tools to figure out how to interact with peers,” said Tristan Caro, mental health counselor at Behavioral Health.
One of the students said that she had come there to educate herself and possibly to share her story.
“I’ve gone through what these other kids have gone through. Having someone there for you makes it easier,” said seventh grade student Bella Espiritu. “I wish I had someone to look for me. There would have been someone.”
McKay was pleased with how the morning session went.
“The first season went well,” McKay said. “I am extremely proud of the event so far. It represents the best of our community.”
McKay said he is happy to have the students volunteer part of their day for the session.
“The children chose themselves. His attitude was ‘I want to help out and be a better friend and ally’, McKay said.
At the start of the session, Butte County Department of Behavioral Health Education Specialist Tory Diaz led students in a fun icebreaker, then handed over governance to Matt Reddam, licensed therapist and current school and community welfare advisor at Butte County Office of Education. ,
The students divided into groups of seven or eight and participated in various activities. One of the activities was to create a poster with myths about mental illness. The students had five minutes to look up the myths on the Internet and write them on a poster. One of the myths was that children do not struggle with mental illness. He also saw a video about mental health, where the video defined what mental health is. According to a YouTube video, mental health affects how you think and feel.
Throughout the season, Reddum openly shared her story and the battle with her mental health disorder.
“The goal is not to fix the problem, but to get that person to a safe adult,” Raddam said.
“I’m so proud of all of you for being here,” Raddam said at the start of the session. “I’ve been working on this for a year. Mental health affects everyone. We’re all in this together.”
“How many people do you know who struggle with mental health?” Reddam asked the students. “You have an impact on people your age.”
Reddum talked about suicide, which he said is a huge epidemic that can affect people between the ages of 10 and 24.
“Your job is to learn the signs that someone is not okay. It is important to know what to say is helpful and what to say is not helpful,” Reddum said.
Reddum said the job of students as wellness ambassadors is very important.
“You’re learning more about yourself and how to help others on campus,” Raddam said.
Reddum said his mother also had a mental illness. He said that he grew up in the 1990s, when people didn’t talk about what they were feeling.
“I needed to figure myself out,” Raddam said. “I was depressed and had post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Reddum talked about how when someone breaks a leg, they are treated with empathy, but mental health problems are not visible to the naked eye, so are often overlooked or treated with silence. Is.
“It’s important to be comfortable talking about it,” he said.