Wellesley High School’s Mental Health Awareness Club isn’t taking the summer off: It’s raising funds for the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation by designing and selling lanyards that read: “Tomorrow Needs You.”
The $5 lanyards, which can be ordered using this form, are handy for holding everything from keys to student IDs and they can go on your backpack, dog and more. The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation was chosen because it awards grants for cutting-edge mental health research, so gives the club the opportunity to effect change.
Nathalie Villalba, a rising junior at WHS, says the 18-member Mental Health Awareness Club aims to foster a safe space for students to learn and talk about mental health matters. “In today’s society, there is an overwhelming stigma associated with mental illness, but we want people to realize that mental health is just as important as physical health. We work to educate others, spread awareness, and advocate for change regarding mental health. Additionally, we hope to be a support system for any of our members or peers who may be struggling with mental health challenges.”
The club was started in the fall of 2019 by now rising seniors Caitlin Ciolfi, Riley Boyle, Sophie Biro, and Lily Biro. “They started it because they felt like there were no open discussions about mental health happening in the Wellesley community,” Villalba says.
The club’s purpose might be more important than ever during the pandemic.
“COVID-19 has definitely caused people to feel more anxious and depressed,” Villalba says. “It’s important for people to know right now that it’s okay to feel whatever they are feeling. We are all in a very tough situation right now that nobody has ever experienced before. So if you’re feeling mad or sad, it’s okay.”
You can follow the Mental Health Awareness Club on Instagram at @wellesleymhac.