On Wednesday, May 1, a crowd of students gathered at St. Martin’s-in-the-Field Episcopal Church at 6:00am and marched down Benfield Road to Severna Park High School to advocate awareness of and more resources for student mental health. This was the first movement of Our Minds Matter, an initiative formed by SPHS juniors Katrina Schultz, Parker Cross, Lauren Carlson, Megan Moulsdale and Sabina Khan. In addition to destigmatizing mental health, the group wants more funding in public schools focused on mental health, more training for teachers and more counselors available to students.
Here is an outline of the Our Minds Matter goals, as outlined by the students. They want:
Through continued awareness, seeking help will not be seen as a sign of shame or cowardice but a mark of bravery and courage. When resources are available, those who need assistance will not be afraid or feel guilty to receive help.
Psychologists and social workers, in some cases, alternate between multiple schools, are spread incredibly thin, and are underpaid. Increasing funding for trained professionals would allow more personnel to be hired and increase the number of students whom counselors are responsible for.
Incorporating mental health and illness education into schools would help students develop healthy coping mechanisms and effective management for bad stress.
The lack of availability of treatment, and the cost of it when it is available, causes an immense quantity of people to go untreated.
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Different minority groups face discrimination and are less likely to receive mental health aid or are even able to receive care.
Improving the mental health care provider to patient ratio can be achieved by providing more affordable education for undergraduate or graduate students pursuing an education in mental health services.
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Our Minds Matter will hold a rally in Annapolis on Saturday, May 18, beginning at 11:00am at Susan Campbell Park. The rally will be followed by two workshops at noon: one for students and young adults, the other for parents and adults. Locations for the workshops are to be determined.