Aragon High School Students Champion “Be The One” Photo Booth!

Friday, March 24th was Aragon High School’s annual Health and Wellness Expo. There were approximately 48 organizations in attendance to share information ranging from sexual health, financial health, skin care, creating health plans, and much more! ODE had the pleasure of being present to share the Dealing with Community Stress/ Creating Safer Communities resource card (http://www.smchealth.org/pod/new-resources), as well as hosting the Be The One (anti-stigma campaign) photo-booth.

Students brought an amazing amount of positive energy to the photo-booth as they engaged with ODE’s interns, community planner, and Lived Experience Academy (LEA) graduate to learn about the risks and stigma associated with mental health! Once student gained insight on how 1 out of 4 people live with a mental health condition, but may not seek help due to fear or embarrassment, students were then asked to either think of someone they may know – or of their very own experiences – and to imagine the ways they’d want to help their loved one or themselves. From here, nothing could stop these vibrant students from demonstrating empathy as they processed through intense brainstorming sessions to eagerly create meaningful photo-pledges! Even camera-shy students made commitments by creating postcard pledges!

The most heartwarming moments of the entire day were seeing a handful of students being so compelled to make a difference that they became “repeat pledgers”. These particular students were so devoted to their commitment to end stigma that they immediately sprang into action by recruiting more of their peers to approach the booth for more pledges to be created, while proudly explaining the purpose of Be The One and smiling brightly with their new pledge-buddies in a photo. By the end of the event, ODE collected a grand total of 140 pledges, with 135 of them coming  from the invigorated students of Aragon High School who walked away showing their readiness to take on the tasks of talking about mental health, and sharing their own experiences as a way to end stigma amongst their friends, family, and community!

Written by: Chenece Blackshear

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