By Mia Gomes-North Star Reporter Intern
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, North Attleborough High School has been making extensive efforts to show their support for any students who are struggling during this time.
Their latest student-run organization, a local chapter of Active Minds, prioritizes the mental health of students at school and home alike. Run by North High senior Abby Sheaff, Active Minds will have plenty in store for anyone who needs support.
“The idea behind starting Active Minds at our school was to try and make it a more safe and welcoming place for students,” she said. “People expressed that they weren’t being supported, and we want to change that.”
Sheaff has a lot of goals in mind as leader of the organization. On social media, she is a major advocate for mental health and ending the stigmas around speaking up about it.
“I think that the ultimate goal of this chapter is to start the conversation about mental health,” she said. “People often like to avoid the topic and shy away from it because it’s a tough thing to talk about. While this is valid, it’s very important to talk about mental health because it helps to get away from those thoughts.”
On the topic of returning to normalcy, Sheaff isn’t sure what Active Minds has in store for students.
“I’m not sure when life will get back to normal, so I’m not really sure what plans will be in the future,” she said. “I am hoping to just do my best before I graduate.”
Active Minds has been quite productive behind the scenes, according to Sheaff. She said that their next big event is the Green Bandana Project. This will be a weeklong event, so that everyone can participate. Students will get green bandanas to wear or put on their backpacks. She explained that green is the official color for mental health awareness.
“In my opinion, this project is to bring our school together and show support and community in our building,” she said.
The Green Bandana Project provides students with a list of mental health programs, and a green bandana that they can wear as an indicator that they can be approached with mental health related needs. The project works to spread awareness of resources for those with mental health-related struggles.
Active Minds is a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising mental health awareness among college students, via peer-to-peer dialogue and interaction. It was founded by Alison Malmon in 2003, after her older brother died by suicide in 2000. There are now more than 500 chapters, made up of national and international high schools and colleges.
While Active Minds has only begun recently, those associated are sure to advocate heavily for mental wellbeing and the health of all students during these hard times.
For more information on Active Minds and the Green Bandana Project, visit www.activeminds.org and www.foundation2.org/services/the-green-bandana-project.