Portola Pilot

Anyone MAY Attend Mental Health Matters Events

Speaker+Stephanie+Zapata+encourages+students+in+the+audience+to+discover+their+healthy+coping+methods+by+sharing+her+own+high+school+experiences+with+self-care.
Speaker Stephanie Zapata encourages students in the audience to discover their healthy coping methods by sharing her own high school experiences with self-care.

Speaker Stephanie Zapata encourages students in the audience to discover their healthy coping methods by sharing her own high school experiences with self-care.

Jane Zou

Jane Zou

Speaker Stephanie Zapata encourages students in the audience to discover their healthy coping methods by sharing her own high school experiences with self-care.

Jane Zou, Copy Editor

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Mental Health Matters month in May kicked off with the first speaker from Western Youth Services (WYS) Stephanie Zapata on May 8. The event titled “What is Mental Health?” occurred in rooms 905 and 906, where Zapata presented on different coping methods students can use. Future events will take place throughout May in these rooms.

Wellness coordinator Maureen Muir organized the events in collaboration with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) club, ASB, Youth Action Team (YAT) and counselors.

“It’s important everyone knows some basic warning signs of different mental health disorders,” Muir said. “The events are to hopefully raise awareness about mental health and also for students to know that there is help here on campus, and there are different resources.”

Zapata emphasized the connection between mental and physical health.

“Studies show that elements of physical health and mental health go together,” Zapata said. “If your mental health is not good, they found heart disease and a lot of different issues. Quality of life is very important in general, just to feel good.”

Mental disorders are not mutually exclusive with those afflicted; students who are not personally suffering can attend. The presentations are applicable to anyone who is interested in helping someone who is struggling to cope.

“Whether one would like to acknowledge it or not, everyone has or will be affected by mental disorders,” sophomore, NAMI board member and ASB service project commissioner Annika Lai said. “An unhealthy and overworked brain can also harm one’s social and physical health.”

Welcoming input from students and staff members, Zapata asked what coping methods they use. Answers ranged from sleeping to playing Fortnite, and Zapata chuckled and said that she enjoys journaling instead.

“Mental health can affect your career, your relationships with other people,” Zapata said.

On the following Tuesdays, May 15 and 22, speakers will present on “Knowing the Signs of Self Harm and Suicide and Prevention” and “How to Keep Emotionally Healthy” in rooms 905 and 906.

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