“Everyone struggles; it’s normal. It’s acceptable to feel the way that you do. Reaching out to people you can trust can only make it better.” This mindset is what the new mental health clubs at Ursuline fervently stand for.
With the pandemic continuing to devastate the nation and with cases rising in the Dallas metroplex, mental health has become a highly discussed topic among high school students. Consequently, as Ursuline students enter the 2021-2022 school year, they see several new clubs appearing on campus, many bringing awareness to mental health issues. Two of these clubs are the UA Active Minds Club and the UA Lead Club.
Active Minds is a mental health advocacy and suicide prevention chapter, founded this year by club president Julia Hansen ’22 and vice president Lia Padian ’22. According to Hansen, their primary goal for the year is to “make Ursuline a safer place with a better environment for young women.”
The club has a variety of plans for May 2022—Mental Health Awareness Month—varying from guest speakers, days of mindfulness, bonding activities and group discussions.
Hansen and Padian were mainly inspired to help girls who struggle with mental health silently, with the intention of making them feel that they are not alone.
“Mental health is an important issue at Ursuline, especially among girls and in the world of social media. Active Minds is a place where girls can count on each other without this outside pressure or anxiety,” Padian said.
Since Active Minds is a national organization, they hope to bring awareness to mental health issues more closely to the Ursuline community, allowing girls to feel comfortable not only talking to teachers and peers, but also reaching out for professional support.
Hansen notes that she is “glad that there are a lot of other clubs to break the stigma of mental illness to make girls feel more supported” in the Ursuline community.
The UA Lead Club, passed down from previous years, focuses mainly on eating disorders and other mental health concerns. Co-president Lily Edwards ’22 anticipates holding several service events for the year, such as making positive affirmation cards for treatment centers, as well as participating in art therapy events. Specifically for this year, they want to bring more awareness to eating disorder education and guidance, especially by presenting during club meetings.
Edwards wants Ursuline students to know that they should prioritize themselves and their wellbeing over schoolwork and assignments because “you can always talk to your teachers if you are really struggling.”
It is important to build relationships with the faculty at Ursuline so that they can make accommodations to relieve student struggles.
She also mentions that even if someone may not relate to mental health issues, it is still important for everyone to understand them. Everyone has bad days, encounters negativity and experiences stress. It is valid for someone to seek help, such as taking action and joining a group that will support them, like the Lead club.
Both clubs have begun to raise awareness to their causes via Instagram, where they have been releasing informational and inspirational posts for UA students. If you feel that you are struggling with your mental health, or would like to seek some advice, reach out to the UA Active Minds Club or the UA Lead Club.
Remember: you are always loved, you are never alone and there are countless resources out there. It is much more beneficial for you to take action now and to reach out to the people who care about you.