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Building Community with Empathy and Understanding

Building Community with Empathy and Understanding

For the second year in a row, freshman students at Somers High School (SHS) were visited by the JCK Foundation to further mental health awareness.

“I think this was a beneficial presentation and conversation to have to normalize talking about mental health," said Kate Barton, a student at SHS.

The JCK Foundation was created to honor John Clever Kelly who lost his battle with OCD and depression before his 25th birthday. The JCK Foundation strives to be an example of how connection and community can be building blocks to better mental health and wellness by preventing social isolation, recognizing the importance of feeling loved and valued, and building resilience. A core belief of the foundation is that no student should ever feel like they are alone in their mental health journey.

“Something that I will take away from the presentation and activity is to be mindful, open-minded, and empathetic towards your peers, whether they are your classmates, friends, teammates, or family,” said Hudson Ruby. “You might not know the full story of what they are going through."

The day started with a presentation to the students about the foundation’s history, John’s mental health story, ways for students to support their mental health, and how to help a friend in need. The presenters shared real-life examples of people dealing with mental health issues.

“Nobody's story is the same,” said Charlotte Senitta, “but people can always come together to help one another. You're not alone in your journey."

During what would normally be their physical education period, students listened to the presenters’ personal stories about their mental health journeys. The speakers then went more in-depth about what students can do if they or someone they know is struggling. Students participated in a variety of discussions including how to talk to parents about mental health, and the healthy and unhealthy ways people cope with stress.

“During our gym classes we all were involved in answering a series of questions involving mental health and discussed the importance of mental health awareness,” Alivia DiGiacomo said.

Thank you to the presenters from the JCK Foundation for sharing their stories, working with, and inspiring the students at SHS.

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