"Students are the future and by educating about mental illness, we can spark the initiative to help stop the stigma."
Grand Junction High School GRC President Kate Hayde and Palisade High School GRC President Tatum Menon have formed a partnership between their club, as they plan to open up the conversation on mental health and bring their community together.
Why did you choose to join Green Ribbon Club?
We actually chose to start a Green Ribbon Club Chapter here in the Grand Valley between our High Schools because in our valley, the suicide rate is almost 3 times the national average. Suicides and mental illness have particularly affected the high schools, and have become very stigmatized and joked about. As our school district stood idle and chose to not address the problem, we decided it was time for peer-to-peer change. We heard about Green Ribbon Club through Tatum's older sister who is a part of the Harvard chapter, and decided it would be the perfect fit for the valley.
Why is advocacy for mental health important?
It has been especially ignored here in the Grand Valley and has become extremely normalized and brushed off. Starting a conversation about suicide and mental illness is the first step in healing. Educating people, especially students, is vital as one-fifth of people will experience mental illness. It is even more likely in our valley due to the lack of resources and the current circumstances. Students are the future and by educating about mental illness, we can spark the initiative to help stop the stigma.
How do you hope to make a positive impact on your school's culture?
We hope to be a resource for students who are scared to reach out and for those with a similar goal. Even more than that, we want to break the silence about mental health in our valley and not let it become normalized and joked about.
What's your favorite way to practice self-care?
Some of the ways that we practice self-care personally include Weekly coffee and distressing time to talk and study. We are big on meditation and yoga, and even just taking a few deep breaths when necessary.
Anything else you want to say?!
We are so excited to be a part of the Green Ribbon Club and to be the first chapter in Colorado!