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Creating Conversations: Mental Health Con 2023

Community News Thursday, 13 Apr 2023

Roycemore celebrated our second annual Mental Health Con this Thursday, with presentations and community programming centered around the topic of mental health.

Visitors from the Isa Kranz Foundation, Gabriel’s Light, and Rogers Behavioral Health were joined by Roycemore students, faculty, and families. 

Roycemore’s Mental Health Con is a student-organized event, conceived and created by our Upper School Teen Empowerment Club. This year, the con featured presentations from the Isa Kranz Foundation for the Upper and Middle School as well as informational booths on different aspects of mental health prepared by students and information available from outside organizations. During the Isa Kranz Foundation presentation, students learned about what they can do to support friends who may be struggling with mental health, from providing them with a listening ear to telling a trusted adult who may have more resources to support them. Erin Kelly Gaines, a faculty co-sponsor, said it’s important to empower students with mental health education. “The con gets them involved with educating their peers,” she said, adding, "Students get to choose their topic and do their own research. So many of them have been affected by mental health so it’s a personal project for them.” 

Co-organizers and members of the Teen Empowerment Club Alexander R. and Ronan M. also spoke about why they believe it’s important to have mental health education at all grade levels. Ronan affirmed that “Mental health education is important for students of all ages, as well as the teachers who are so influential to them,” and the con allows the entire community to learn more about how to support each other. The Mental Health Con is a chance for everyone in the Roycemore community - students, teachers, and families - to learn from the work of upper school students. Alexander compared mental health education to a class like P.E., reiterating that “Struggling with mental health is not something to be embarrassed about.” It’s especially important to the student organizers that this event reaches younger students, as they believe that it’s never too early to start having conversations about mental health. 

The Teen Empowerment Club is already looking forward to next year’s event. Erin Kelly Gaines hopes to be able to partner with more community organizations in the future and to potentially grow the event to include conversations and education for Lower School students. More than anything, however, every person involved with the event hopes that Roycemore students walk away feeling cared for and listened to. Ms. Erin put it best: “If we help even one student, the entire event is worth it.”

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