Clovis West students work to raise awareness around mental health, support elementary students

Jessica Harrington Image
Thursday, June 6, 2024
Clovis West students work to raise awareness around mental health
Clovis West students are working to raise awareness around mental health.

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- Clovis West students are working to raise awareness around mental health.

Members of the leadership and peer counseling classes are engaging with elementary students to explain how to start the conversation.

Gianna Ruth says when she speaks to elementary school students about mental health, she uses her own story to build the bridge.

"I have issues with anxiety and this year, I started talking about it and I have truly gotten helped a bunch," Ruth explained to a class of students at Lincoln Elementary School recently.

She says she's always been drawn to the importance of mental health and struggled to talk about it herself.

"There's a stigma around it where people think it's embarrassing to talk about," Ruth said.

The Clovis West junior and ASB Mental Health and Wellness officer was inspired to start the conversation with elementary school students because she has a little sister who is in sixth grade.

She wants her to know resources are available.

"I wanted to be a good advocate for her, for her friends, for her peers," Ruth said.

The initiative came to life when the peer counseling class and the leadership class at Clovis West started working together.

Instead of just helping their peers, they felt they could extend the information to future Golden Eagles.

Clovis West Mental Health Support Provider Brittney Beer says students sometimes have an advantage of getting kids to open up to them instead of adults.

"They may not be willing to come to me, but they're probably willing to at least go to a peer," Beer said.

The Clovis West students learn about mental health, how to start a conversation and how to be a safe person for their classmates to turn to when in need.

"It allows our students to be social-emotional ambassadors and that first line of defense," Beer said.

While visiting elementary schools, the leadership students and peer counselors discuss what mental health is, the importance of mental health, they identify safe individuals students can talk to on their own campus and explain coping mechanisms.

The goal is to make sure students feel safe sharing their feelings and know help is available if they need it.

"I just hope that they know that they're in safe hands," Ruth said.

This year, the peer counselors were able to visit several elementary schools.

Next year, they hope to visit all elementary schools in the Clovis West area.

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