Awareness for illness

Students help bring awareness for mental illnesses


Kyle Gehman

This is the tree that is decorated in the courtyard. It is to help promote Mental Illness Awareness week.

by Kyle Gehman, Staff Writer

Two students who started out with an idea have now helped to dedicate an entire week to it. Seniors’ Jared Bouloy and Dana Pierce have both coordinated for five days from October 3-7 to help spread awareness about mental illness.

“I’ve been inspired by people in my life who have gone through various things,” Bouloy said. “I know that I will never be able to stop these things from happening, but I at least want to start providing a way for people to find help. My favorite experience about all of this is the stories that people have shared with me. They are so empowering and are what inspire me to keep going everyday.”

Each day of the week had a certain theme of dress wear sponsored by different groups and clubs. They spun green yarn around one of the trees in the courtyard, put streamers in the courtyard with different myths and facts about mental illness and on Friday they hosted an assembly in the PAC with different speakers.

“I’ve always been very open with students about my experience as a survivor of an abusive relationship in high school,” former LHS teacher Danielle Bell said. “During my 4 years at LHS I told my story several times and when Jared approached me about his plans for creating a nonprofit organization to bring awareness to all sorts of stories like mine, I was immediately interested in being a part of it. I’m on the board of directors for Amare Outreach, and I think the work they are doing is amazing.”

Together Bouloy and Pierce have created a website to help people who are struggling with mental illnesses and want more information about it.

I think the most important thing that anyone can know about mental illness is that you are not alone. Your life has meaning and your story has worth.

— Danielle Bell

“Jared and I actually designed and created the website together, we’ve been partners in everything we’ve done from the very beginning,” Pierce said. “This is something that is very close to both of our hearts, and we wanted to do something to help the millions of people it affects.”

All over the world, our country and our school are people who are affected by some sort of mental illness and it is Bouloy and Pierce’s hope that their work can teach people and help spread awareness for mental health.

“I think the most important thing that anyone can know about mental illness is that you are not alone,” Bell said. “Your life has meaning and your story has worth. There are so many people who can help, or who can simply listen. Counselors, teachers, parents, coaches, friends, family – they can help.”