Student Alliance for Mental Health and Wellness Valentines Day Project

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SAMHW Valentine’s Project in 2019-2020 school year. (Photo Courtesy: Douglas Muraoka)

Rhea Wojack

     The Student Alliance for Mental Health and Wellness (SAMHW) was founded three years ago as a place for students to release tension and spread mental health awareness. Last year, they had a Valentines Day project in which they distributed Valentines Grams to students, which consisted of candy as well as messages. This year, the club organized a similar project where they sent emails to students with Valentines Day messages.

     “This project allowed for connection amongst the students during these times of isolation,” said Student Alliance for Mental Health and Wellness Vice President Senior Chanelle Camero. “It was heartwarming to see all of the responses we received on the Google form because it was nice to know that we contributed to making someone’s day just a little brighter.”

     The planning consisted of figuring out how to effectively send the emails as well as issues with people putting cryptic or harmful messages. The club ended up using a template for students to send emails to their peers as well as a section for teachers.

“One of the sources of strength is positive friends and so having positive friends around you adds a lot to that mental health,” said club advisor and AP Psychology teacher Douglas Muraoka. “And so it was just a way to let people know that they are surrounded by positive friends, so getting maybe it wasn’t so random but just getting an email letting somebody know that somebody else is thinking about them goes a long way to positive mental health.”

     The Student Alliance for Mental Health and Wellness is partnered with Sources of Strength, which is an organization that spreads awareness about suicide prevention, bullying, violence and substance abuse, in some of their projects. They did one of these projects in second quarter on the Sources of Strength wheel, which helps manage and identify one’s support system. 

     “I’ll tell you that just having students give you a little bit of, I don’t want to say recognition, but just knowing they think about you outside of a classroom and you’re not just a talking head for one hour a day it’s just really nice to know,” said Muroaka. “And the nice thing is that sometimes it comes from an unexpected source too. Which is even more amazing because as a teacher you think you know who likes you and who doesn’t and usually, quite often you can be wrong.”

     The club spreads awareness about mental health through campaigns and service projects as well as letting the students and teachers know that they are cared for by their peers. The SAMHW hopes to include the Valentines Gram Project as a club tradition. For more information about Sources of Strength visit their website at https://sourcesofstrength.org/.