Mental health advocacy club “In the Know” offers emotional support

Everyone feels worried or anxious from time to time, but not everyone develops a mental illness. What’s the difference? A mental illness is a health condition that gets in the way of your thinking, relating to others, and day-to-day functions. 

Over 5% of adults experience a mental illness each year, which is equivalent to approximately 43.8 million people in the world. Many mental illnesses have been identified and defined, but not all want to talk about it or can talk about it. When teenagers are struggling with emotional problems they often turn to alcohol or drug use as a form of “self-medication”, which can be problematic for brain development during adolescence. Luckily there are resources for students who need support.  

Hereford welcomes a new club In the Know, which offers students an opportunity to express their feelings in a safe environment. This club revolves around mental health and destroying the negative stigma that often comes with it. It is a student founded and led mental health advocacy group that started up last year. The club meets every Thursday in room M-123 for both halves of enrichment. 

In this club, students can come and talk about any issues they have, feelings they want to express, or anything else on their mind. This club provides a safe and positive atmosphere without judgement. 

The club has several initiatives to their message throughout the community. Teachers wear ‘Mind over Matter’ T-shirts on the last Friday of every month to show that they are also available to help anyone who is struggling with mental illnesses.  

Club member Chloe Speno developed the idea of the club with the school’s social worker, Molly Esworthy. 

“We want to bring a comfort in talking about it [mental health], because mental health is very hard to talk about due to the stigma around it. Our club is here to provide resources and insight on a subject that affects a lot of people,” Chloe Speno (’21) said. 

Although the members of the club cannot give you professional advice, the meeting serves as a healthy outlet. The main goal is to bring awareness about mental health and the dangers it may bring when not treated. They advise not to use this club in lieu of seeking professional help. 

 “Our goal is to raise awareness about mental health as it becomes more prevalent in today’s youth and to provide resources for those struggling, to help support a more positive, stigma free learning environment,” Lauren Rasmussen (’20) said. 

Contrary to popular belief, mental illnesses can affect anyone despite race, gender, religion, age, social economic class. Anyone around you could be struggling, and it is important not to take these issues lightly. Mental illnesses are a very real and a debilitating experience that over millions of people live with. If you or anyone you know is suffering from a mental illness seek help whether that be from a professional, an adult or a trustworthy friend. 

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

National LGBTQ+ Hotline: 1-888-843-4564

Molly Esworthy-School Social Worker
Ellen Fitzkee-Counseling Department
Susan Slater-Counseling Department
Tanya Zegers-Counseling Department