Local High School Campaigns
Listed below are local school campaigns centered around reducing the stigma of mental health, as well as raising suicide prevention awareness.
Stress Less Week
Platte County High School SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) implemented “Stress Less Week” during the week of Valentine’s Day. The students stressed the importance of taking care of yourself, especially when stressed. They handed out magnets that say, “I will take care of myself”, as well as healthy snacks to encourage healthy eating especially when stressed. They also promoted the hashtag #PCHSSelfCare and tweeted self-care tips throughout the week.
The SADD students also implemented the “Talk Dot”, in the form of a sticker. If a student needs to talk to someone about something they are going through, the blue dot symbolizes it is a safe space for that person to go to. Teachers, school staff, and students were given the option of displaying the sticker on their laptops, cups or other belongings, to show others they are willing to listen and help.
How Full is Your Cup?
Lawson CIA members have been concerned about their student body when it comes to dealing with life’s pressures, demands and traumas. To help their peers not engage in risky behaviors, withdraw, substance use, violence and other unhealthy ways to deal with stress, they developed the “How Full is Your Cup?” campaign.
CIA students want their peers to know that 1) there is a reason they are struggling – and not because they are “weak” or that something is wrong with them-but because they are carrying more than their minds/bodies are designed to handle, 2) stress/loss is a normal part of life that affects everyone in one way or another, and 3) they are encouraged and supported to talk about and seek help for those stressors so they are able to take better care of themselves.
Main messages of the campaign:
1. I have a cup and it fills up.
2. My cup fills up differently than anyone else’s.
3. I can learn to empty my cup.
The week looked like:
Monday – All students watched a video made by CIA members that demonstrated the cup analogy and explains the activities for the week. Each student gets a cup with the campaign logo and “fullness” indicators (see image above for cup and below for indicators). Each cup has a colored piece of paper that prompts them to write down what fills their cups (stressors). Local and national resources are provided in the cup, as well.
Tuesday – Students who bring back their pieces of paper get their cups filled with hot chocolate. The pieces of paper that has each student’s stressor (anonymous) are displayed on the wall display of the cup (above right image).
Wednesday – A scavenger hunt was created that included a handout that prompts students to find answers to questions about healthy ways to empty their cup.
Thursday – Students will be asked to fill out white pieces of paper that ask them to write down healthy ways to empty their cups. As the day goes on, the colored pieces of paper inside the wall display of the cup cover the colored pieces of paper (that had each student’s stressor) showing “white space” as the cup empties.
Friday – Students viewed a follow up video of student interviews and footage of participation of the campaign’s activities. There was also a hashtag promotion for an Instagram contest.
Photo illustration: Sepi Tajima https://sepitajima.com/how-to-understand-and-prevent-emotional-and-mental-overload/
Speak Up, Speak Out, Speak Free
Speak Up, Speak Out, Speak Free is a campaign developed and implemented by Platte County High School DECA students. This strategy focused on educating their peers and community about mental health awareness and reducing stigma. The campaign encourages peers to speak up and seek help if they are struggling.
The campaign is on its second year of implementation. There are banners hung up in both the middle and high school. During the first year of the campaign, there was a billboard displayed at a highly visible location in the community, with the Encourage Hope and Help website listed. The students are currently working on sending out postcards encouraging healthy coping skills to parents of the school district for fall 2017.
Stop the Stigma
The Stop the Stigma campaign was developed and implemented by North Kansas City students to reduce the stigma of mental health.
Every day of the week was used to raise awareness and reduce stigma on a different mental health illness, as resources were provided if students found they were struggling in that area. The school was encouraged to wear the colors of each awareness day, as well as wear the ribbons that represented the mental health illness. Wristbands that said “Stop the Stigma” were given to students. Other items such as stress balls and posters were distributed to help engage students and the community.
The campaign is on its second year and will roll out again this fall of 2017.
Stress Less Week
Platte County High School’s SADD students implemented their “Stress Less Week” with a suicide prevention focus in 2017. They wrote several letters similar to the one shown to encourage support and hope for students who might be struggling. The letters were placed all around the school for students to read.
On Monday of Stress-Less Week, each student was given a card with the Encourage Hope and Help website info, as well as a local therapist’s contact information on the back of the card. They attached lifesavers to each card to symbolize hope and suicide awareness. The rest of the week, the students were given lanyards, buttons, and stickers with the Encourage Hope and Help’s website information, as well as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number. The stickers and buttons stated “You Are Never Alone” (see image below).
Excelsior Springs High School implemented “Younique Week” to encourage students to embrace who they are as individuals. The students gave tasks for each day. For example, Monday was “High 5 Monday” and Tuesday was “Love Your Selfie”.
Stress Free Friday
Lawson High School students developed a campaign providing positive support and outlets for youth to deal with rather than turning to drugs to cope with stress. Taking care of each other, caring for their minds and bodies, providing positive peer pressure, and educating on positive ways to handle stress.
Monday: Identify stressors (Do you feel ____? Could you be stressed?)
Tuesday: Identify Stressors (Local results/Parent piece)
Wednesday: How stress affects the body
Thursday: Healthy ways to cope
Friday: Stress Free Friday – students were given hot cocoa with covers on their cups that read “You Can’t Pour from an Empty Cup. Take Care of Yourself First. #StressFreeFriday (picture shown to the right)