Mental Health Club

Emma Schroeder, Writer

Last year, members of the student body began a mental health club in order to encourage further discussion and action over this important social issue. The club hopes to lessen the stigma over mental health and engage in projects that will provide more resources for high school students. 

Senior Aditi Malay was one of the founding members of the group and has a passion for getting involved with projects that help others. 

“Some of our main missions are to create a more positive environment in schools and raise awareness of mental health resources. Members of the club have increased support of these missions by decorating a school bulletin board with encouraging messages as well as including mental health resources and crisis hotlines. We attend roundtable discussions at Family Services and Guidance Center where we, and students from other schools across Topeka, discuss how to promote the aforementioned missions and destigmatizing discussion of mental health. Additionally, we have attended mental health educational events within the community and will attend the Junior League of Topeka Capital Impact Leadership Summit in February,” Malay said. 

In addition to these activities, the club has been promoting an online service that offers support without the need for in-person contact. 

“Seven cups is a free, 24/7 available resource people can use to talk to trained professionals about any issues that are dealing with. I do not, however, have access to the statistics of how many people are using it. I think it’s a great initiative and hope people are benefiting from it,” Malay said. 

More recently, the mental health club was involved with the food and clothing drive that will eventually create a resource for needy students within Washburn Rural to have access to living essentials.

“The school administration gave the Mental Health Club the great opportunity to help organize and run the food/clothing drive. Members of the club are now taking inventory and organizing donated items into storage; we received a tremendous amount of donations and I believe this food/clothing bank will be extremely helpful,” Malay said. 

Although these projects are extremely helpful, Malay said there should also be more emphasis on raising awareness about resources that currently exist.

“I think the best option is to make sure that students are aware of the resources they can use if they need to/want to; things such as counselors, peer counselors, crisis hotlines, and general mental health education could be beneficial,” Malay said.