Conway High School hosted its first Mental Health Awareness Week during the month of February.
The week included announcements every morning concerning mental health, guest speakers from various facilities, and a mental health fair.
“The Mental Health Fair was an extremely educational and eye-opening experience that I believe should become an annual event," said Senior Manahil Kazmi. "It provided students with great information on mental illnesses people suffer from on a day to day basis and how it affects their lives."
Many local community partners participated in the event.
The UCA Psychology Department informed students of the various health care careers in psychology.
Curtiss Robinson, CEO/owner of Thriveworks Counseling and Coaching, engaged students in a game of jeopardy. Categories included disease and disorders, Myers-Briggs personality test, mental health professions, and the five love languages.
Missy Lewis from Chenal Family Therapy of Conway stressed the importance of finding someone they can trust and confide in, reminding them that they are not alone and not the only one going through difficult times.
Students who attended the fair said the information was very important.
"The facilities that were present provided contact information and prevention tips which could help students who may have wanted to seek help but did not know where to go. This fair was a step in the right direction to ending the stigma around mental illnesses and it allowed us to realize that there are students at this very school who may be suffering in silence," said Kazmi. "I hope to see educational events, such as this fair, that will promote the fact that mental illnesses are just as important and immediate as physical illnesses, and that no one is alone in their fight.”
Scotty Smittle from The Rice Clinic told students what therapy looks like and what to expect once an appointment has been made. He stated that the top 3 mental health issues for teens are depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
Health Care Science Technology classes also designed health display boards on various mental health and wellness topics.
“The experience was very informative," Junior Zach Renfroe said, "I enjoyed being informed and talking to actual people in the field of psychology.”
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