Did you know that may is mental health awareness month approximately one in five youth aged 13 to 18 Experience a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. Mental health has been a stigmatized topic for decades, But even more so in today’s youth. Teens today are living in an increasingly digital age and social media can easily make it seem like everyone’s doing great. Students and teachers at Laney High School recognize this stigma and are aware of the importance of one’s mental health. Social worker Mr. Hand has helped launch the school’s peer support group, Buctown Lounge. Mental health has a stigma because it is a disease that we cannot see like with broken bones or like rashes or whatever you can see it. so you accept that it’s there, but with mental health, you can’t actually see the affliction So people just assume that you’re making it up for attention I think that mental health has a stigma because it’s not something that’s talked about often enough and makes it very hard for us as kids to talk about it. Mental health matters because it’s connected to every aspect of your life Sadly people don’t really understand the connections between mental health and how we think feel and behave. When people are healthy mentally they’re typically healthy in the rest of their life as well. The peer support group wants to make sure students are aware of their resources Resources are available to them social workers counselors friends parents coaches Hotlines all sorts of stuff. There’s just so much available to people For those who are not comfortable enough to reach out to a counselor or any adult that is where the peer support group bridges the gap. The group is completely confidential If they’re not comfortable with talking about it talking with adults we encourage absolutely, you know reach out to your friends and we’ve started a peer support group just kind of give that option to. We let them know what we’re doing and what we can do to help them and let them know that’s okay to not be okay. We won’t judge them. Mental health is important to take care of just like your physical health… The peer support group hopes to see this program grow at Laney and spread to other schools in the district so that more students are aware of their resources and choose to open up seek help and break the stigma around mental health. Someone you know or perhaps yourself are living with a mental illness. Let’s make sure they know they’re not alone. You are not alone. You’re not alone. You are not alone. You’re not alone.