Central holds first Mental Health Month

Jesse Herrera, Staff Writer

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Central East held it’s first Mental Health Awareness Month this May to coincide with the national observance and raise awareness while reducing stigmas associated with mental illness. Central’s chapter of The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), which is the first student-run club in the Valley, is holding activities every Tuesday through Thursday of this month to educate students on mental health.

Established late last semester by intervention specialist Paul Mirmingos, intervention counselor Victoria Duong, and school psychologist Monica Monroy, the NAMI club promoted the event in order to “help those with the illnesses, give information to everyone and just make the campus is the greatest it can be.” explained senior and club president Ethan Baird.

The events featured a range of activities designed to stimulate student involvement. The Survivor Wall gives students a chance to write a supportive message on a paper ribbon for those who struggle with mental illnesses. A scavenger hunt had students looking for papers all around school with facts about mental health, healthy coping skills, and ways to fight the stigma associated with mental illnesses. Students were also offered lime green ribbons, buttons, wristbands, and lanyards to wear in support of the events. Prizes from candy to pizza were handed out to reward participating students.

Right now Central is “taking huge steps to change the environment of conversation around mental health challenges”  as the representative from Fresno NAMI Chris Roup said when visiting the campus. And co-club advisor Paul Mirmingos, this is just the beginning. They are in the process of establishing a NAMI club at West campus for next year and plan to expand mental health awareness activities throughout the year, with a primary focus on the National Suicide Prevention Week, which is typically observed in September, And Mental Health Month with the activities focusing more on student interaction.

For anyone who is interested in learning more about NAMI, contact Paul Mirmingos, Victoria Duong, or Monica Monroy. They are available via school email or at East campus’ UCLA office and in room 1317. you can also check out their Instagram linked here.