Recently, Westhill High School held Green Day, to spread awareness for mental health. The idea stemmed from the Mayors Youth Leadership program which wanted to find a way to bring mental health to the forefront of the schools attention. Being that October is anti-bullying month, it was the perfect time for such a day. By having the student body wear green, the people suffering from mental-health related issues could see that they are not alone and have people that support them.
Some may ask how a simple green shirt could be affective yet it is more than just a color. Isabella Petrini, president and an executive committee member of MYLC stresses the importance of her peers wearing green. When asked the impact that Green Day had on the school she said, “The day of green impacted people positively. That’s because it allowed the people who are quiet and feel invisible, that struggle with a mental illness to see that people out there support them and are aware of their struggles. It is a time where the student body comes together in unity to show respect and kindness.”
A simple gesture like this was able to send a school wide message; it is okay to talk about mental illness. The Mayors Youth Leadership Council is responsible for putting up signs to encourage kids and even adults that it is okay to talk about your problems. It encourages everyone to not be afraid and speak out about what is going on in our heads. “I think that any form of act or gesture that brings the attention to people is something that can help spread awareness. People heard the announcements and saw social media posts about it and the purpose behind green day and were really perceptive!” Petrini continued. By making school wide announcements and social media posts before Green Day even happened, people were able to really understand the meaning of the color.
For many students, mental health plays a major role in their lives. Having a day dedicated just to mental illness gives those students struggling a chance to open up and gain support. Ultimately the main purpose of green day was to spread mental health around the school and eventually other places. Petrini finished by saying, “We wanted to get people to talk. When you see people wearing green people started to ask what was going on, creating a conversation about mental health awareness. It is a real issue at Westhill that needs to be addressed and the stigma behind it needs to be destroyed. It is okay to talk about your mental health disorder!”