Chelsea High School Volleyball Partners with SRSLY Chelsea for World Mental Health Day
SRSLY Chelsea and the Chelsea High School Volleyball program partnered up on Oct. 6 for a Mental Health Awareness Night event.
This event commemorated World Mental Health Day, which is Oct. 10 every year. This is the second consecutive year these organizations came together to celebrate World Mental Health Day by giving away mental health apparel, resources, educational materials, awareness, and student engagement.
“Last year’s event was such a success that Chelsea players asked if we could make it happen again,” said Kate Yocum, SRSLY Director. “We were happy to do it again, but we wanted the players to have control over how the event was organized since their role in SRSLY is everything.”
“As student-athletes, we understand the importance of mental health and its significance to us as teens,” said Jenna Ouelette, a junior at Chelsea High School. “Our goal is to alleviate stigma, prioritize mental health, and raise awareness about its presence in our everyday lives.”
To meet these goals the teams decided on a game date and what messages and materials they wanted to share. Each team also designed their custom Happy Initiative warm-up shirts for the game, including a phrase that resonated with them as individuals and teammates.
“The Happy Initiative is a high school campaign by SRSLY to help normalize the conversation around mental health. The goal is to help us all feel supported in our experience of mental health” said Ouelette.
Phrases for the shirts included “Progress not perfection,” “Tomorrow needs you,” and “Someone feels better because you exist.”
“Varsity chose “Progress not perfection” because through volleyball, we’ve learned it’s about getting 1% better every day and that change isn’t instant, it takes practice and time.” said Caroline Knight, a junior at Chelsea High School. “Mental health is similar in this way because it’s not something you can snap out of, and we think it’s important that people know it takes time and doing just one small thing a day for yourself can make a large difference in the end.”
The Mental Health Awareness Night also allowed Chelsea youth to have their voices highlighted in the conversation about mental health.
According to the National Alliance for Mental Illness, 1 in 4 teens experience a mental health challenge. That’s why SRSLY, in partnership with Chelsea Hospital, offers free mental health, substance abuse and suicide prevention training opportunities to Chelsea residents.
“The first step in saving a life is making sure kids have an adult they can talk to about what they’re experiencing who is supportive and competent about mental health,” said Yocum. “It’s an important protective factor that we as a Coalition are working to bolster in this community”.
SRSLY also uses its platform, and events like the Mental Health Awareness Night, to help teens advocate for themselves and their peers.
“If someone is struggling with their mental health, you should never be afraid to reach out. You are never alone and will always have someone to talk to. You can talk to your friends, family or teachers. Always put your mental health first,” said Maddie McKale, a sophomore at Chelsea High School.
To learn more about mental health and the work SRSLY is doing, visit srsly.org or find us on Facebook @srslychelsea.
About SRSLY Chelsea
SRSLY Chelsea's mission is connecting as a community to support youth mental health and prevent youth substance use through action, education, and advocacy. SRSLY receives support from the Coghlan Family Foundation, Chelsea Hospital, and the Five Healthy Towns Foundation. For more information, visit www.srsly.org or follow SRSLY on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.