“Shattering the Stigma” starts an important conversation for students

By Sam Thomas, Opinion Editor

On February 25, 2019, parents, students, police officers, and mental health professions convened in the Hurda Learning Center for a night of education and understanding called “Shattering the Stigma.”
This event, hosted in part by Spring-Ford Counseling Services, aimed to show what mental illness truly is, along with explaining the large variety of resources in our area. In a brief summary, the night included activities and presentations from the officers in the surrounding townships and representatives from the Mobile Crisis Unit, and Spring-Ford Counseling Services, among others.
Molly Sodicoff, the student board member at Spring-Ford Counseling Services, was a vital part of making “Shattering the Stigma” happen.
“Most events that are surrounding the topic of mental health discuss what to do if a loved one or peer seems to be suffering. They typically skip over how to personally get help,” said Sodicoff. “The fact that ‘Shattering the Stigma’ talked about services in Montgomery County that are easy to gain access to in a moment’s notice made it incredibly useful for the community.”
Personally, I did not know that we had so many of these resources nearby. The Teen Talk Line, a hotline for teenagers to anonymously talk to other teenagers about any problems they are facing, was completely new to me.
Additionally, I learned about the procedure police follow when called to a crisis, such as the order of events after calling 911 and the specific actions the police officers do.
After attending this event, I can confidently say that Spring-Ford is taking a step in the right direction when it comes to mental health awareness.
Statistics show that mental illnesses are becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society. For example, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), about one in five young adults aged 13-18 will experience a mental illness at some point in their life.
It is invaluable for our school district to have an event that comfortably discusses the mental health resources in our area. It ensures the safety of both our present and our future, showing how deeply Spring-Ford cares for each and every student, family, faculty member, and community member.
“It was satisfying to get feedback from my peers about the usefulness of the information because that means it reached people in the right way,” said Sodicoff. “I hope that communities and schools continue to run programs that promote self-advocating.”