St. Mary CSS students and staff “Smash the Stigma” in mental health awareness event
The Jack Chapter at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School is a student initiated group whose aim is to tackle some of the issues relating to mental health within their school community.
One of their goals is to draw attention to the negative stigma that surrounds mental health and the consequences of it. This negative stereotype results in discrimination against individuals with mental illness. It can be seen in discomfort discussing mental health, in insensitive language, in jokes about suicide, in bullying of individuals with mental illness, in name-calling, in lack of support and understanding within peer groups.
It can deter individuals who are suffering from reaching out and seeking help.
On Nov. 5, the St. Mary’s community joined together to “Smash the Stigma.” Students “smashed” mental health stigma by writing damaging words and phrases on pumpkins donated by Burnham Farm and Load-n-Lift Disposal. The pumpkins were smashed in a movement to identify and erase stigma in the school community.
The Smash the Stigma initiative was also a fundraiser that raised $80.25 for the Northumberland Community Counselling Centre. With a number of initiatives planned for the rest of the school year, St. Mary’s Jack Chapter hopes to make a positive change in their community.
They look forward to their “What is wellness?” photo-shoot and wellness care package give-away, hosting a Jack Talk at the school, and providing a week of free activities for students to participate in during Wellness Week.