“Mental health at IMSA is a large yet overlooked problem. Students tend to feel alone in their issues, and there’s also an environment that makes students feel the need to push through their problems and pretend they don’t have any,” says 1506 Hall Senator Radeesha Jayewickreme (’18). In an effort to unite the campus and raise awareness for mental health, StudCo is teaming up with the school counselors, Kevin Kusy and Karen Schwartz, to lead the Mental Health Initiative during the week of November 28.
Throughout the week, there will be posters all around campus, a social media campaign, midday and after-school events. But this year’s MHI Week will be different from last year, promises Radeesha Jayewickreme, “We are taking it in a new direction [this year, and] we want to make sure the week has an impact. We are partnering with SCIA to have a CCC forum with mental health specialists.”
Another thing to look forward to is the possible premiere of the student-produced short film, “Gray.” When asked about his motivation to make this film, Thomas Harris (’18), the director and producer, said, “I and Jen Song [editor of “Gray”] made “Gray” because no one should have to understand how it feels to be depressed, anxious, abandoned, or anything else…And it’s all a spectrum. We are all gray. We all face mental health issues regarding ourselves and our friends, and we need to come together as a community to fight for the people who are challenged everyday by depression, anxiety, fear of missing out, etc.”
After just being named the second best school in America, IMSA is ecstatic with pride and honor. But we’re far from perfection, and there are many issues that haunt everyone this great institution. Nevertheless, the support of this campus is all the Mental Health Initiative needs to ensure its success and the advancement of the human condition. As Radeesha Jayewickreme said, “People don’t have to go to all the events, but [they should] make sure to keep mental health in mind. Pay attention to what others say. We should try to care, empathize, and be there for the community.”