Wildcats bring awareness with mental health fair

By ELLA FITZPATRICK, CYRUS ENGELSMAN, DANIELA MORA, MIA ARANDA, MIRIAM YORDANOS, AILEEN JANEE CORPUS and KENDRA BURDICK

To raise more awareness and combat the mental health stigma at Redlands East Valley High School, the Mental Health Awareness club hosted a mental health fair from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on March 8 in the main quad.

Wildcat students explore the Mental Health Fair during third period in the main quad on the East Valley campus to participate in the Mental Health Fair on Tuesday, March 8. (ELLA FITZPATRICK/ Ethic News photo)

Julie Castillo, teacher of the Mental Health Career Pathway classes at REV who advises the Mental Health Awareness club at REV, says, “People know what they hear in the media. People know what they hear from friends. People know what they hear from family. But people don’t always know what people who work in the field of mental health want them to know.”

“Many people with serious mental illness are challenged doubly. On one hand, they struggle with the symptoms and disabilities that result from the disease,” according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.  “On the other, they are challenged by the stereotypes and prejudice that result from misconceptions about mental illness.” 

Booths led by students from the mental health pathway classes, clubs on campus and organizations partnered with the Mental Health Awareness Club and offered a variety of different resources, education, and activities. 

 “The mental health fair is here to educate people who know nothing about mental health,” says Castillo.

 “We always need to bring this education and awareness to the public. And that has always been our main goal: to eradicate the stigma through the education of mental health, wellness, and illness,” says Castillo.

Mental health resource and education booths

Through Castillo’s efforts, the Mental Health Awareness club and the mental health career pathway classes were able to team up with multiple mental health organizations based outside of REV. 

These outside organizations that made an appearance, and also made up half of the 20 booths at the fair, included The Spring to Autumn Counseling Services, the Colton-Redlands-Yucaipa Regional Occupational Program, the San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health, the Behavioral Medical Center of Loma Linda Hospital, Redlands Unified School District employees, the University of Redlands Alliance for Community Transformation and Wellness members, the Inland Empire Therapy Dogs, the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools and Generation Rise. 

Ranger, a dog who works with the Inland Empire Therapy Dogs, poses for a picture looking into the sun. He joined other dogs from the program at the Mental Health Fair at REV to receive pets and belly rubs from the students visiting the fair. (ELLA FITZPATRICK/ Ethic News photo)

Wildcats students eagerly wait for their turn using the virtual reality headset offered by the Colton-Redlands-Yucaipa Regional Occupational Program on Tuesday, March 8. (ELLA FITZPATRICK/ Ethic News photo)

The other ten booths were run by students from the Mental Health Awareness Club and the mental health career pathway classes. The students put together educational booths on various mental health topics and coping skills. 

Above: Joshua Zatarain, a junior at Redlands East Valley High School, plays a game at the Mental Health Awareness Club booth at the Mental Health Fair on March 8. Joshua Masangcay, a senior and the president of the Mental Health Awareness club, shows Zatarain how to play the game. The game involves throwing a ball towards a pyramid of collapsable cans; if the player successfully knocks down a can, they win the game. (ELLA FITZPATRICK/ Ethic News photo)

Redlands East Valley High School seniors Avery Zercher and Grace Mcastell, students in the mental health careers pathway classes, give a presentation on the realities of substance abuse at a booth for the Mental Health Fair on Tuesday, March 8. (ELLA FITZPATRICK/ Ethic News photo)

Redlands East Valley High School junior Breanna Routhieux and senior Alison Bradshaw provide information about different types of foods that improve brain health at their nutrition booth at the Mental Health Fair on Tuesday, March 8. (ELLA FITZPATRICK/ Ethic News photo)

REV’s clubs, including Rock Painting Club, the Wildcat Pride Association and Art Club, were also encouraged to participate in the fair with their own educational booths about stigmas and how to practice healthy mental wellness.

Rock Painting Club

The Rock Painting Club’s booth provided students with supplies to paint their own rocks that they could keep. 

Redlands East Valley High School freshmen Vibha Athreya (left) and Eliana Campa (right) use the booth’s supplies to paint rocks on Tuesday, March 8 in the Wildcat quad. (MIA ARANDA/ Ethic News photo)

“Rock painting is a way to prevent stress and find a healthy coping mechanism,” said Rock Painting Club President and senior Tejazvi Gopalan. 

Rock Painting Club President and senior Tejazvi Gopalan helps oversee the booth where students had the opportunity to paint their own rocks on Tuesday, March 8 in the Wildcat quad. (ELLA FITZPATRICK/ Ethic News photo)

Rock Painting Club welcomes any new members every Thursday at lunch in room K110 to paint rocks that can either be kept for personal use or be used to help decorate the campus. 

Art Club

Art Club’s booth allowed students to display their emotions on paper by scribbling on paper then using colors to express the emotions they feel daily.  

Art Club encourages different interpretations of art, therefore they reinforced the idea that not everyone’s color interpretations will not be the same. 

“Most of us, whether we know it or not, have a mental illness of some sort. Eliminating the stigma is really going to be beneficial for the future,” said Art Club Vice President junior Lana Nutter. 

Wildcat Pride Association 

The Wildcat Pride Association had a booth with a game of Myth or Fact where WPA Vice President Finn Stewart would make a statement and it would be up to the player to decide if the statement was a myth or a fact. If the participant got the statement correct, then they would be able to get a raffle ticket and a candy or prize. 

“Our station is about mental health in the LGBTQ+ community and how it’s stigmatized, and we have written down myths and facts about certain parts of it,” said junior and WPA Vice President Finn Stewart. 

Wildcat seniors Rishi Patel, Neo Morrison and Corey Ford talk to Finn Stewart, the vice president of The Wildcat Pride Association, as they fill out an interactive worksheet for their class. The worksheet was provided by Julia Castillo to encourage students to interact with the booths at the fair by answering the questions as they went around visiting booths. (ELLA FITZPATRICK/ Ethic News photo)

The WPA had a poster presenting facts about LGBTQIA+ mental health.

Stewart said, “We have a lot of help lines. The fair will be more awareness for students to understand more about people with mental illness and understand that they shouldn’t be hidden away from society and they should be considered people too even though they are struggling with something.” 

Student table on schizophrenia 

The student-run schizophrenia booth offered educational information about what it’s like to have the mental illness. The booth also provided knowledge on the experiences people have when living with it. 

Alicia Gullon and Shannon Cockerill, Wildcat seniors and members of the Mental Health Awareness Club, educate students on the realities of schizophrenia on Tuesday, March 8. Seniors Shireen Takkouch, Luck Mathis and Gavin Oliver watch as senior Isabella-Martinez Spencer plays an interactive game of “this or that” on the computer. (ELLA FITZPATRICK/ Ethic News photo)

REV junior Jaylene Lopez said that the booth not only had information to learn about schizophrenia but it also had an interactive game you can play. The game provided a little insight as to how it feels to have schizophrenia and if the player can handle living with it.

Lopez says, “if you really wanna learn, you’re gonna learn more about different types of mental illnesses and different ways to help cope with other mental illnesses.”

The San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health

At the San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health booth, they offered pamphlets and flyers  about urgent mental health care, teenage depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, adverse childhood experiences and more.

The pamphlets offered resources and included symptoms of mental health illness that are common within teens.

Volunteer Services Coordinator Susan Abito said, “This event is going to open up a dialogue between the students, where maybe they might not feel comfortable talking. But, now that everyone here and there is a lot of support, they will be more open to discuss mental health.”

Charlotte Baldes, a Wildcat senior, talks with Lana Frausto who works with the San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health. Baldes and Frausto discuss mental health resources and potential volunteer program information provided at their booth at the Mental Health Fair at in the Wildcat quad on Tuesday, March 8. (ELLA FITZPATRICK/ Ethic News photo)

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