Students from Brentwood HS were the perfect combination! We ask our advisors to choose a ‘grab bag’ of representative students: leaders, people with first person experience, and compassionate teens. Separately, you would find them as different as night and day, but together, they became a ‘force to be reckoned with!’
Activities like Ships & Sailors really help to break down barriers as students explore isolation, abandonment, and exclusion as well as the difficulty of navigating symptoms of MI/SUD and trying to continue living before getting help…and there’s always plenty of ‘selfies’ involved as students chronicle their journeys through the workshop and project.
We’ve also found that having a ‘person with lived experience’ or someone in recovery or affected by a mental illness really helps the teens understand the struggles of someone with a mental illness. All of our trainers are people living with mental illness and the students learn that we can be just as successful and live happy, healthy, fulfilled lives just like our ‘typical’ peers.
Project planning is the hard part. There’s so many things to remember…
-it’s not always quantity, but quality!
-what will be the most meaningful for my peers?
-it’s not always easy, it’s not always fun, but it’s always important!
But by the end of the day, the students came together as a unified force to stop stigma and we had a ton of fun along the way!
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