STOP THE STIGMA – PORTER STYLE!!!
SATEC @ W.A. Porter Collegiate Institute
July 27th, 2012
by Weiting Xu
“Don’t want to be left in this world alone; am I alone in this fight?” (“Is Anybody Out There?” – K’naan feat. Nelly Furtado) Absolutely not! Over 1300 students and teachers joined in the fight to put a halt to the stigma surrounding Mental Health and raising an outstanding $1200 for CAMH. Mental health awareness week was initially an Ontario Minister of Education SpeakUp project grant but it was combined with Toronto District School Board initiative for double the goodness. With a week of events and activities planned by the Stop the Stigma organization at Porter had the positive energy flowing throughout the building.
Whether it was morning or afternoon, a large banner waved hello as students, teachers, staff, parents, and guests walked into the school building. Human-sized silhouettes hung on the walls throughout the school and Mental Health Bracelets were worn by all. Each day had a designated mental illness topic: depression & psychosis, eating disorders, and suicide, with the finale titled: Mental Wellness. Initiating the week was an overwhelmingly participative assembly with guest speakers – even Porter’s own students Stephan Nakamura and Luc Becker shared their experiences!!! Following, activities included daily celebrity mental health disorders, “The Amazing Race”, art therapy, yoga, documentaries, dress down day and breakout sessions. Students had the opportunity to contribute to the Mental Health Awareness Tree by writing positive comments on why they believe this cause is important.
Mental illness exists in 1 of every 5 individuals. 2 of the 3 suffering from mental illness will suffer in silence. “Is anybody out there?” Yes, of course! There are infinite resources available to guide and aid in our path when/if we are struggling. The week of activities and school involvement was a prime example of the impact Mental illness has – if not on ourselves, but those close to us.
With countless positive comments from both school and community members, this was a definite success. SATEC @ W.A. Porter would like to extend an appreciation of thanks to Mind Your Mind for the poster resources, Jastex for the donation of T-Shirts, and the mental health clinics for information resources. Certainly not to forget the involvement of every single student, staff and individual who aided in the process of bringing forth mental health from the shadows. Thank you all!