Union Free School District
- Hastings-on-Hudson U.F.S.D.
Hastings High School SADD Club to Kick Off Mental Health Awareness Week
The Students Against Destructive Decisions club is claiming next week as Mental Health Awareness Week at Hastings High School.
Organized by eight of the club’s members, the week will focus on different themes each day including motivation and willingness to learn, sleep, stress, time management, and social interaction. Students selected the themes through a survey created by SADD.
“With the stress of everything from school work to COVID restrictions, we thought it was important to have this week and raise awareness” about students who may be struggling, said freshman Maya Tadmor.
The students came up with the idea after reviewing the club’s event calendar.
“Some of the things were impossible to do with COVID,” said Tadmor. “But Mental Health Awareness Week was something we could accomplish, and it resonated with us.”
There will be activities and conversations related to each of the themes in an effort to provide an outlet for students who may be struggling as well as proactive advice to help others avoid becoming anxious, depressed or overwhelmed. Although mental health awareness month is May, SADD club members said choosing March for their awareness week was no accident.
“March is a really long and intense period between mid-winter break and spring break where a lot of kids are overwhelmed with school work and stress,” said freshman Sophie Halliburton.
Christina Repp, co-advisor for SADD, said the students deserved all the credit for spearheading the week.
“This week was generated by their concerns for their peers and their desire to see everyone in a good head space,” she said. “SADD is really about being able to examine how you are feeling and respond positively when you are struggling with things.”
Leila Stojanovic said the goal is to provide time for reflection and then provide students with coping tools they can use.
“I know my friends have been talking about how they have been struggling with working on a screen all day and that stress,” added freshman Elianna Carvalho. “Everything about mental health kind of comes back and connects to that.”
Curating an entire week for mental health awareness is a feat of its own, but it's all the more impressive when you take into account the creators have only just joined SADD this year. After meeting at a community-based drug prevention and youth leadership program over the summer, Tadmor, Halliburton, and Carvalho collectively decided to sign up for SADD.
With assistance from Repp and Linda Fosina of the Hastings Working Alliance for Youth Coalition, the students were able to hit the ground running in organizing the awareness week.
“The beauty of SADD club is that we really tailor what we do to what the students need,” said Repp. For Fosina, the SADD club is an important addition to the Hastings WAY, a group aimed at reducing the use of alcohol, tobacco and other harmful substances among youth.
“To reduce youth use of substances, we need to work with youth and figure out why they’re using them in the first place,” Fosina said.
“I think it's really important that we show our peers and fellow students that everyone’s having trouble with this year and last year,” said sophomore Isabelle Fries. “This club can help spread positivity and give support to some kids who need it.”
Halliburton said, “It’s the idea of making the activities this week interactive and incorporating in-person and remote students so everyone can uplift each other.”
“I’m looking forward to just giving a little extra positivity in school every day,” said Carvalho.
“Even if you think it won’t benefit you at all just start with one thing that can make your day better and it can go a long way,” added Tadmor.