Central Unified students promote mental health awareness

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Central Unified Club is raising awareness for mental health in a big way.

"I struggled with my mental health for a long time and I tried talking about it, but a lot of people didn't understand because they weren't aware. I myself wasn't aware," said NAMI Member and student Avren Kaur.

Mental health is important to every age group and can be especially challenging in high school, so these students are doing something about it.

In between their classes, you'll find these Central Grizzlies stuffing goody bags, hosting drive-thrus and talking to their fellow students about mental health.

"I don't want other people dealing with this uncertainty and not having a place to go to," said Kaur.

Central East High School's chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI as its known, has nearly 70 student members.

"Half of all lifetime cases, the onset of mental illnesses are going to present themselves by the age of 14," said Executive Director of NAMI Fresno Chris Roup. "It's important that we recognize them and have some intervention happen so people can get to a healthier place."

Amid the pandemic, this group rallied behind their classmates hosting virtual sharing circles for their peers.

"Our sharing circles are a safe place where students can rant about school, like I'm stressed with this class," said Student Shaelynn Yang. "They can come to us connect get to know each other better."

Even presenting their work to Fresno County Behavioral Health and Fresno State, and making sure their peers know there here for them.

"Students are not alone," said Student Emily Avila. "Our message is were here for you, we see you, we understand you, we want to help you."

For more details on NAMI visit their website.
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