Mental Illness Teen Health (MITH) is the nation's first student-run mental health awareness club, sponsored by National Alliance on Mental Illness-Juneau (NAMI-Juneau).
This Valentine's Day, MITH students from Juneau-Douglas High School brought flowers to individuals at Bartlett Regional Hospital's Mental Health Unit and Rainforest Recovery Center. Students arranged bright pink, red, and white carnations in homemade vases they decorated earlier that week. This holiday thoughtfulness was inspired during a recent training day, when MITH students discussed the difference between being in the hospital for a broken arm and for a mental illness.
Many times, people receive flowers and get-well balloons when they are in the hospital, but you don't often see the same kind of get-well cheer in a mental health unit.
The students were particularly touched by this statement and decided to do something about it. More than 30 students participated in this project, and seven student representatives hand delivered the gifts during their lunch.
The holiday fun continued during lunch on Friday at JDHS, where more than 75 students learned about mental health by answering surveys. MITH students hosted an information table and gave Valentine's Day candy away to fellow students who correctly answered questions about the myths and facts of mental illness.
More than 75 percent of the students who took the survey reported that they knew to go to NAMI-Juneau for mental health information.
MITH's mission is to improve mental health education, support and advocacy at JDHS and in the Juneau community.
Laura Manley is the executive director of National Alliance on Mental Illness-Juneau (NAMI-Juneau).