Mental illness awareness club

New to the schools’ club count this year is Mental Illness Awareness Club.

The group meets in room 173 every Monday (except the first Monday of each month) at 3 p.m. with advisor Kathy Olsen.

It has a few simple goals: to raise money to donate to foundations supporting mental health, to learn more about mental illness, and to decrease the “stigma around mental illness in our society [and our school],” said Lydia Sawyer, a club leader along with Katy King and Charlotte Landeryou.

Anyone can join; the club is about educating our school.

“[MIAC] is important because many students at ARHS have had experiences with mental illness, be it their own or someone else’s. Mental illness is very real, and can be very difficult to understand,” said Landeryou.

In club meetings, students talk about how things are going personally and they have a discussion about mental illness issues in the media and their own community.

The mental illnesses that they focus on are the ones that are most common in teenagers, such as anxiety disorders, eating disorders, depression, and OCD.

“We are planning on gathering materials for rarer disorders as well, such as schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder,” said Landeryou.

MIAC is working with other clubs to create a Mental Illness Awareness Week, where participants will discuss the presence of mental illnesses in minority groups, such as the high suicide rates among transgender teenagers.

During the awareness week, they will also provide information regarding the conditions listed before.

Specifically, their goals are to provide a safe, non­triggering air space for the discussion of mental illnesses.

This is not a therapy club; however, they have information on therapists, psychiatrists, and local organizations.