Bidwell Junior High School Students Learn About Mental Health – Chico Enterprise-Record
CHICO – Mental health can be a struggle for all humans at times, and students at Bidwell Junior High School got first-hand insight on Friday on how to educate themselves and help others with health issues. Mental Health.
In partnership with the Butte County Behavioral Health Prevention Unit, Butte County Office of Education and Bidwell High School staff, the school hosted two two-hour sessions dedicated to helping students to become wellness ambassadors by educating them about the stigma associated with mental health and how to recognize the signs that someone they know may be struggling and how to help them. The event was a pilot and will be followed by six encore sessions and will officially begin in August, where there will be weekly practice, according to Bidwell Junior High principal David McKay.
About 35 students attended the afternoon session. The sessions were not compulsory. Students volunteered for them.
“We equip them with tools on how to have conversations with their peers,” said Tristan Caro, mental health advisor at Behavioral Health.
One of the students said she was there to learn and maybe share her own story.
“I went through what these other children went through. Having someone for you makes it easier, ”said seventh-year student Bella Espiritu. “I wish I had someone to watch over me.”
McKay was happy with how the morning session went.
“The first session went really well,” McKay said. “I am very proud of the event so far. He represents the best of our community.
McKay said he was happy the students were spending part of their day in sessions.
“The children have self-selected. Their attitude was “I want to help and be a best friend and ally,” McKay said.
At the start of the session, Butte County Department Behavioral Health Education Specialist Tori Diaz led the students in a fun icebreaker and then handed the reins over to Matt Reddam, registered therapist and current counselor. in school and community welfare for the Butte County office of education. .
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. Students had five minutes to research myths on the Internet and write them down on a poster. One of the myths was that kids don’t struggle with mental illness. They also watched a video on mental health, where the video defined what mental health is. Mental health impacts the way you think and feel, according to the YouTube video.
Throughout the session, Reddam openly shared his own story and his struggle with his mental health disorder.
“The point is not to solve the problem, but to bring this person to a safe adult,” Reddam said.
“I’m super proud of all of you to be here,” said Reddam at the start of the session. “I’ve been working on this for a year. Mental health affects everyone. We are all in there.”
“How many people do you know who have mental health issues? Reddam asked the students. “You have an impact on people your age. “
Reddam has spoken of suicide, which he says 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 doing well. It is important to know what is useful to say and what is not to say, ”said Reddam.
Reddam said the work of students as ambassadors for wellness is very important.
“You learn more about yourself and how to help others on campus,” Reddam said.
Reddam said his mother also suffered from mental illness. He said he grew up in the 1990s when people didn’t talk about how they felt.
“I needed to understand myself,” Reddam said. “I was depressed and had post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Reddam explained that when a person has a broken leg, they are treated with empathy, but mental health issues are not visible to the naked eye, and are therefore often ignored or treated with silence.
“It’s important to feel comfortable talking about it,” he said.