Student Council raises money for mental health

Tragedy prompts discussion


Anika Hanson

Donation bins were set up around the school for students to donate as much as they were able. If students donate, they are able to take a purple ribbon sticker to show their support for mental health awareness.

Emma Leff, Rachel Salzer, and Anika Hanson

Following a tragic loss in the St. Louis Park community, Student Council decided to raise money for the National Alliance on Mental Illness as well as raise awareness about mental health

Students created small donation bins that were put in classrooms around the school. Students and staff are being encouraged to donate.

Kara Cisco helped organizing the donations and said she is happy to see how the community is rallying together.

“I think any time a member of our community is hurting, we all hurt a little bit. So one of the things we can do is uplift each other,” Cisco said. “I love that I work in a school community that is uplifting.”

Cisco said she is impressed with the proactiveness of the students involved.

“This fundraiser is student-led and the students are doing a lot of the leg work,” Cisco said. “Students are really taking the initiative.”

Junior Ella Thomas said she strongly advocates for raising awareness for mental health.

“I think it’s important (to raise awareness) because obviously there’s such a stigma around mental health,” Thomas said. “I think it’s really important to try to get rid of that stigma, and that’s why I talk about (mental health) so much.”

Thomas said she hopes for a more supportive environment at Park.

“I think that sometimes people just kind of dismiss (mental illness) and don’t realize that it affects a lot of people,” Thomas said.

Junior Miriam Hope said she supports the health classes that focus on mental health, but wishes for even more discussion.

“I think that the health classes given at our school, especially about mental health, are really good and informational,” Hope said. “But I think it would be a really interesting thing to see like a club being made or more of an effort, just like we do with so many other issues.”

According to a survey conducted by, which asked over 2,000 people from across the United States, 56 percent of participants said they would be uncomfortable talking to their friends and family about their own mental health.

Health teacher Allison Luskey said she believes mental health education is paramount to removing the stigma surrounding mental health.

“I think the importance is the education about it. So sometime when we talk about it, kids actually recognize that maybe they are experiencing some of those symptoms,” Luskey said.

The Association for Children’s Mental Health reports that 1 in 5 children ages 6-17 have a mental health disorder, yet it is estimated that 50-80 percent of these children do not receive proper treatment.

While there are many causes as to why so many children do not receive treatment, the inability to realize they are experiencing a mental illness and unwillingness to talk about it are two contributing factors according to the Child Mind Institute.

Luskey said this education will aid students in help others struggling with mental health.

“Discussing (mental health) is helping kids figure out what to say and then what not to say to a friend or family member who may be experiencing a mental health disorder,” Luskey said.

According to the Student Council member Patrick Djerf, Student Council is raising not only donations for mental health, but awareness.

“We assembled ribbons that the students and staff can pin to their backpacks or clothing,” Djerf said.

Djerf said he hopes Student Council’s efforts will increase awareness and discussion of mental health.

“If we can get talking about (mental health) and raising awareness, that will reduce the stigma and make it easier for kids and people dealing with mental health issues to get help,” Djerf said.

The donation bins will be in classrooms until Wednesday Oct. 16.