Webinar Hopes to Break the Stigma Surrounding Mental Health


Victoria Quintana, Kaleidoscope Editor

The Mental Health Awareness Webinar put on by Selma High on May 20th, wishes to encourage healthy conversations and break the stigma surrounding mental health. The webinar was hosted by a panel of students and staff that aim to discuss what mental health means to them and how healthy practices can contribute to successful mental health. They put together engaging activities and informative/relatable conversations from the panel.

The idea came about from Chloe Mendoza and Ashneet Gill while at a meeting for Bear Talks earlier in the year. They wanted to do something special for May Mental Health Awareness month to expose the topic to students and staff.

“It’s so important to start these conversations and educate ourselves about the little things we can do to help break the stigma surrounding mental health,” stated Chloe Mendoza

Along with Chloe and Ashneet, the team putting together the webinar includes Ms. Contreras and Kristy Rangel who have had several team meetings with Mr. Lopez.

“He has been a tremendous support in our efforts to spread awareness, to discuss the format of the webinar as well as finalize the details of who we will reach out to … as well as what outside agencies/resources we want to include,” commented Ms. Contreras and Rangel.

They have reached out to the Majoree Mason center as well as the LGBTQ+ Fresno resource center in hopes that they will participate.

“Mental health is so important because it impacts every aspect of our lives, often much more than we think!” expressed Mendoza. “If we have the tools to recognize signs and ask for help when we need it, then we are on the path to ensuring that we take care of our minds!”

The team emphasized that mental health is a vital topic to discuss because taking care of your mental health is just as important as your physical health. They compared it to breaking your leg. Instead of being expected to walk it off and stop overreacting, you would be expected to get help from someone. They stated that the same should be done for mental health.

“By having these open discussions, the hope is to get that mentality out there that asking and seeking out help is, not only viewed as normal, but is the best way to prevent problems from developing into situations we feel are unmanageable,” expressed Ms. Contreras and Rangel.

They aim to impact not only students but also staff, and create a space where everyone feels free to share and relate to one another.

“The more we talk about it and encourage healthy conversations to be held, the more people will feel comfortable and safe,” concluded Gill.

The team hopes that the webinar will reveal that asking for help when it comes to mental health won’t bring feelings of weakness or embarrassment, and that they can begin to break the stigma surrounding this vital part of life.