Show Your Support for Mental Illness Awareness at Whitman

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Last year, Whitman SGA started a Mental Illness Awareness Seminar program that sought to bring the mental wellness conversation into the classroom. It was aimed at encouraging students to recognize symptoms and reach out for help. The seminars, which took place in every third period classroom in March 2018, covered Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Depression, and eating disorders with an informative presentation, student speaker, and facilitated discussion.

In its second year, the program gained approval in January from Principal Robby Dodd to continue this message and expand to cover Bipolar Disorder and OCD. Over sixty students applied and interviewed to be a part of the mental illness awareness team, many of which now make up our forty member staff who are currently preparing for this year's seminar presentations. 

This past week amidst scheduling discussions, the Walt Whitman High School administration chose to cut support for this valuable program by eliminating its proposed spot in the schedule for this year. The Administration cited a lack of time before AP exams and other testing, leaving them to cut the program from scheduled class time. They offered the program continue in a modified form as a student lecture during lunch or after school, essentially pushing mental illness to the sidelines. 

Mental Health Matters. The conversation and information that the Mental Illness Awareness program offers the student body is vital to their wellbeing. Mental wellness should be a priority for Whitman, and it deserves allocated class time. Just 45 minutes out of the entire year can save a student's life and bring end to their suffering. Please show your support for this program by signing and including a message about the importance of comprehensive mental illness education in classrooms. Thank you.  

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