It’s okay to not be okay. This is the message Wesley Housing teens were spreading at their Mental Health/Suicide Prevention Awareness Walk at Annandale High School last month.
This youth-led project was awarded a mini grant by the Wellness, Health Promotion and Prevention team of the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB), which was to be used to help students host an event centered around changing the negative stigmas associated with mental illness.
Strawbridge Square Apartments’ teens in Project Discovery, a program helping youth residents successfully transition to post-secondary education, developed a plan to host a walk at their high school to show that it’s not taboo to talk about mental health.
“With the suicide awareness walk, we are hoping to spread awareness of the resources available in the area for those struggling with mental health,” the teens expressed in the grant application they submitted.
Projects such as these encourage youth living in our affordable housing communities to be active, engaged members of the community and inspires them to be a driving force for a positive culture change. Those in Project Discovery participate in several projects throughout the year to prepare them for college as well as enhance their resumes.
Leading up to the event, students created signs with positive messages, created T-shirts, and developed flyers with resources related to mental health and suicide prevention.
Twenty-five students, Wesley Housing interns, and a few local community members joined the walk in support of the cause.