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Mental Health Training For Student Leaders

The Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE), in partnership with the California Department of Education, NAMI California and NAMI Stanislaus will host a National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) High School Training for student leaders and club advisers on Thursday, March 5 at the Martin G. Petersen Event Center, 720 12th St., Modesto. During the all-day event, students and staff will learn the ins-and-outs of running a successful school club. NAMI on Campus High School Clubs are student-led clubs that promote mental health awareness and reduce the stigma of mental illness through engaging activities and educational events, including resource and activity fairs. Students and advisers from the following high schools are slated to participate: Patterson, Oakdale, Ceres, Central Valley, Hughson, Modesto, Gregori and Turlock.

“As a high school junior, I have noticed a high prevalence of stress, anxiety, and depression among my peers,” said Avni Parmar, a junior at Gregori High School. “Unfortunately, mental health is not an easy topic to discuss. NAMI on Campus is particularly crucial because receiving such wellness help and resources directly from peers will be better accepted by students. I hope to further raise awareness to a larger scale to students at all of our district and county schools.”

Parmar, alongside other student leaders and club advisers, will learn how to expand NAMI awareness on school campuses. The training will provide toolkits and templates to discuss mental health topics, as well as materials and resources to bolster club outreach.

“Having NAMI on Campus will be a great way to spread knowledge about mental health and bring awareness to it,” said Modesto High School student, Selorna Ackuayi who has been seeking to develop a club on campus. “I’ve always believed that mental health should be as normal to talk about as physical health, and NAMI on Campus will help reduce the stigmas associated with mental health. This is extremely important in a high school setting where there is so much judgment and there so many high expectations.”

At the training, high school advisers will receive advice on how to navigate their roles as mentors and trusted adults to provide students with additional mental health resources.

The NAMI on Campus High School Club training was created to improve school environments by increasing mental health awareness and highlighting the importance of health and wellness.

“Having an understanding of what mental health truly encompasses and having a safe and genuine place that people can go to for help is essential for the success of any high school student,” said Ackuayi. “NAMI will help students learn that their mental health doesn’t define them and they have resources to help them get through their mental health issues.”