NAMI Holds Third Annual Outreach Event

Ajinkya Rane and Benjamin Kim

In conjunction with the counseling department, YAT and ASB, the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) club hosted events on May 22-24, as part of Each Mind Matters Month.

“Our goal was to spread awareness about mental health and to share stories in order to show others that mental health is a serious issue,” junior and co-president Annika Lai said.

This year, NAMI hosted three events during lunch and office hours: a speaker showcase, de-stressing lunch activities and a healthier-life pledge. Students were able to engage in multiple activities such as coloring, making bubbles and eating candy.

“At the time, I didn’t take my bipolar seriously,” guest speaker Danni Blackman said, “but family I hadn’t seen in years came to support me, and it was really beautiful. My friends were still cool even when I talked zany. Going down the street, you would never know I had this thing, and there’s people who’ve gone through a lot; you don’t always know.”

NAMI holds events related to creating awareness for mental health every year, but this year’s outreach was more successful, according to junior and secretary Lauren Hwang.

“Over the years, I’ve seen our club grow and thrive as our school population expanded,” Hwang said. “It was truly inspiring to see so many students attend our event and actively engage with the various exhibits we had up.”

Hosted before finals week, a time of stress for some students, the event brought awareness to creating a balance between school and free time. The event also outlined many strategies surrounding stress release, time management and sleep duration.

“We wanted to focus on the key areas that students often take for granted while studying for stressful exams such as [Advanced Placement] and finals,” Hwang said. “This event allowed us to connect with the student body on a personal level and deliver advice that could apply to any student that needed the support.”