George Elliott Secondary School appeared to have an unusual number of injured students today, but fortunately most of them were only dressing up to create awareness of mental health.
Students sported walking casts, wrist wraps, crutches, neck braces, and even some Hollywood-quality bruises in support of their school’s Visible Injury Day, which highlighted both the invisibility and prevalence of mental illness in youth, according to the school district.
“Our Kindness Ambassadors did an excellent job of sparking conversations around a very difficult topic,” said Kindness Ambassador teacher Kathy Lafontaine. “Realistic injuries prompted questions and gave students an opportunity to remind their peers that often, we can’t see the struggles others face.”
The student-led event took place the day after World Mental Health Day and precedes Invisible Disability Week. Kindness Ambassadors at the school took the opportunity to point out that one in five teens face mental health issues.
“I think the event was valuable because mental illness is just as prevalent as physical injuries, you just don’t notice,” says Kindness Ambassador Jasanna Kunz. “We should be more aware that people deal with issues on a daily basis, and we need to be more kind.”
Student creativity in generating kindness at GESS is off to a strong start this year. At a recent club fair event to promote belonging by signing students up for various clubs, 87 students, or roughly ten percent of the school population, joined the Kindness Crew Club, according to the district.
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