Fundraisers at Chipotle and the school’s Learning Commons and front parking lot will take place to raise money for future events by the TPHS NCHS, the National Alliance on Mental Illness on Campus High School Club, which raises awareness about mental illness.
The three fundraisers, two of which will be boba fundraisers — where boba will be sold for $4 to $4.50 — at TPHS and the last at Chipotle, will raise money for events later in the year such as Mental Health Month in May and Yellow Ribbon Week, which will take place the first week of March.
Earlier in the year, NCHS put on an assembly at Carmel Valley Middle School to raise awareness about mental health issues. The club is also scheduled to give a similar presentation at Diegueño Country School on Feb. 26, and they hope to plan others as well.
“The big two things are the events, just making the events very well known because some other years people don’t know what Yellow Ribbon Week is about and don’t know it’s mental health month,” said Tavisha Thapar (12), the club’s president. “We’re trying to make the events more noticeable. It’s kind of tentative right now because we’re a new club, but we’re still trying to do more events during the school year and reach out to more students.”
The goal of NCHS on TPHS’ campus is to eradicate the social stigma surrounding mental illnesses, which club members believe can be done by educating students about mental health.
“The main thing is that there is a stigma about mental health, and we’re trying to make it so you’re not ashamed about it,” said Jenna Howard (12), the media officer for NCHS.
By engaging students from middle schools and high schools in different ways, such as holding assemblies and putting up posters, the club hopes to make others more aware of the facts about mental health and start conversations about the topic.
“I believe large-scale efforts, like Challenge Days, are the best ways to help our students,” said Debra Lawler, a school psychologist. “Seeing our similarities is a fantastic way of addressing that it is okay not to be okay, along with providing resources for help. We all need help at some time in our lives, and that is okay.”
Although NCHS was formed just last year by the current club president and media officer, the club is tentatively taking on more events to fulfill its purpose. For example, NCHS and PALs (Peer Assistant Listeners) are collaborating for Yellow Ribbon Week, which is usually run solely by PALs. The club hopes to eventually share more of the responsibility, spread the message and influence more students.
The NCHS Club at TPHS is an affiliate program of the national organization, NAMI; it applied for and received money for speakers and supplies last year from the organization to have Mental Health Month in May.