Dakota High School Hosts First You Matter Mental Health Week – Macomb Daily

The Mind Week, Assembly, and Fair held at Dakota High School in May had a higher purpose than prom and lessons as important as geometry: lessons in mental health awareness.

Dakota High School held You Matter week beginning May 9, which actually extended through the week of May 16. It was sponsored by the Dakota Coalition Teen Council and student government and included a spiritual week of color-themed dress days matching mental health awareness. , activities focused on stress relief, a suicide prevention assembly and a mental health fair.

Specialized student assistant Stephanie Lange said this was the first year that the two groups of students had offered You Matter week at the school, although each group had previously organized activities focusing on mental health. You Matter Week was meant to be a more focused, campus-wide effort, and so the ideas and efforts of the two groups came together, Lange said.

“We talked about it for years, but then COVID came along and other things took over. We made it a priority this year,” Lange said.

You Matter week was to coincide with May, Mental Health Awareness Month, before the last days of school for seniors.

May 9 was Suicide Prevention and Awareness Day, with students encouraged to wear yellow to show their support. Although May 10 was a teacher professional development day and no school was held, students were encouraged to wear orange to show their support for ADHD Awareness Day. They were also encouraged to check out Schoology for information on yoga, mindfulness and ways to win a gift card.

May 11 was Anxiety and Depression Awareness Day. Students were encouraged to wear green to show their support. The day included the special activity of decorating terracotta pots during lunch times and decorating the school exterior with sidewalk chalk. The pot decorating proved popular, with all 200 available pots gone by the end of the school’s three lunch periods, Lange said.

“The message that day was to have a hobby, an interest, and to grow something that you keep alive in your home that is good for mental health, like caring for a plant,” Lange said. , adding that the idea was generated by the students. .

May 12 was Eating Disorder Awareness Day. Students were encouraged to wear purple to show their support. The Mental Health Fair was also held on May 12, on the school’s indoor track. Lange said 850 students attended the health fair. The mental health fair was repeated at the nearby ninth grade center at Dakota High School on May 17.

Dakota High School hosted You Matter Week from May 9-17, a week focused on raising mental health awareness. Pictured is a meditation station with Kirsten Groppuso, the school librarian, guiding students through relaxation techniques. (PHOTO COURTESY OF STEPHANIE LANGE)

The Mental Health Fair booths were designed to provide interactive presentations, allowing students to engage while increasing their mental health awareness. Some examples included Henry Ford Macomb Hospital’s Rethink Your Drink Sugar Content Chart, Macomb Intermediate School District (MISD) Education Project for Homeless Children and Youth Question and Answer Chart, and Meditation Stations with Kirsten Groppuso, the school librarian.

Dakota High School hosted You Matter Week from May 9-17, a week focused on raising mental health awareness.  Pictured is a meditation station with Kirsten Groppuso, the school librarian, who guides students through relaxation techniques.  (PHOTO COURTESY OF STÉPHANIE LANGE)
Dakota High School hosted You Matter Week from May 9-17, a week focused on raising mental health awareness. Pictured is a meditation station with Kirsten Groppuso, the school librarian, guiding students through relaxation techniques. (PHOTO COURTESY OF STEPHANIE LANGE)

“Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine has spun the wheel to learn more about vaping and the dangers,” Lange said. “The Marines were here and the kids did pull-ups on the pull-up bar.”

Among the many groups that offered interactive tables were KnowResolve: Youth Suicide Awareness and Prevention, Macomb County Health Department, Turning Point, CARE of Southeastern Michigan, and MISD.

“Everyone received a punch card that participated in the fair. You had to have meaningful interaction, at least six booths. You get your punched card from the person at the booth. Once you get six shots, you’re eligible for the door prize,” Lange said, adding that students were also entered into a raffle for gift cards.

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May 13 was OCD Awareness Day. Students were encouraged to wear blue to show their support. The school’s media center offered meditation during lunch periods.

An assembly was held on May 16 on suicide prevention, featuring KnowResolve: Founder and CEO of Youth Suicide Awareness and Prevention, Dennis Liegghio, and a student speaker.

Lange said student groups plan to make You Matter week a traditional school event.

“We really felt we did it well this year and we will do it again next year,” Lange said.

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