Mental health day moves many students

Students interact with guest speaker Sojourner Jones. Many students also review the informational packets that were passed out.

Jelani Clinton

Students interact with guest speaker Sojourner Jones. Many students also review the informational packets that were passed out.

Azuare Singleton-Moton, Editor

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Sojourner Jones, Wayne County mental health authority, lectured at Farmington High School’s first Mental Health Awareness Day on Feb 15.

People can experience many different mental health problems. Mental health disorders can affect emotions, thoughts, and behaviors and can affect any age group.

Jones talked about ways to deal with and cope with mental illness. More specifically, Jones talked about illnesses most requested by students such as: depression, stress, anxiety, panic attacks and trauma.

“Twenty percent of youth ages 13 to 18 live with a mental health condition,” said Jones.

After pointing out that resonating fact, she talked about what to do to know if someone else may be dealing with it. If someone is showing one or more of these behaviours, he or she could have a mental illness:

  • Mood swings
  • Out of control
  • Feeling very sad
  • Changes in sleep
  • Trying to harm themselves
  • Fatigue
  • Unmotivated
  • Easily agitated

These are called warning signs. Learning the warning signs is the first step in getting help for a mental illness. If the symptoms persist over two to four weeks, then you should reach out for help to a counselor or trusted adult.

Jones also shared an impactful story about a man named Kevin Hines.  Hines was an example of someone who needed help but didn’t reach out for it.

Hines ended up jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge, but was rescued by the Coast Guard.

Ninety-eight percent of people have died after jumping of the Golden Gate Bridge, but Hines was in the two percent that the Coast Guard was able to save.

Hines realized that his survival was a miracle and decided to seek treatment. Over the course of the next ten years, he had seven mental health hospitalizations. Hines also became a mental health advocate and believes that recovery is possible for people with mental illness.

While Jones shared this story, via a video, students attending the conference were engaged and listening. Once the story was over, everyone could feel the emotion stirring in the room.

“It was so inspirational. It’s a sad story. It’s kind of bittersweet as well because at least he got something out of what happened to him,” said Brooklyn Barrymore,12.