Perry Takes a Bite out of Stigma

Perry Takes a Bite out of Stigma

Perry High School (Pittsburgh Public) spent their first year in Stand Together ‘taking a bite out of stigma’ by using cookies to entice their peers to learn more about stigma and mental health and substance use disorders.

 

DSCN1734-rThe students created a trifold board that read, ‘That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles!’ with facts about stigma, including the definition, examples, and how students could help their peers who may be struggling with a mental and/or substance use disorder. Suggestions they shared included¬†pledging to end stigma, stopping the use of stigmatizing language, educating each other, and speaking up by being an ally.

 

The students also gathered statisticsDSCN1721-r and reviewed the information they learned at the workshops to place on notecards. They would use these as prompts to start a conversation about mental health and stigma with their peers.

 

When the student approached the table, they were directed to learn about stigma by looking at the poster and then answer a question. Participants were interested in the cookie, of course, but also engaged in conversation about the facts on the notecards. This project was a great way to raise awareness. Students selected a notecard of their choosing and were offered a cookies for participating, whether or not they answered correctly. Some of the students had some really great answers-they even got rewarded with a bonus cookie!

 

 

Students and staff alike participated in the event. Some of the students reported having more of an open-mind when they encountered their peers whom they didn’t know. They learned a lot and were challenged to look at things differently. One ST team member remarked:

I enjoyed learning about mental health. It was educational. I felt encourage that our school can be better by spreading more knowledge about stigma!

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The group held their activity three times this spring. The first year is always the hardest, but they showed us that will a little passion and commitment from a small group of students, change can occur. Students responded well to hearing from their peers; you never know the impact you could make on others just by talking about mental health.

 

Thank you, Perry for ‘taking a bite out of stigma.’ We look forward to working with you again next year!

 

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Written by Danyelle, coordinator

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