State of mind

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

#GETYOURGREENON: Thursday, May 20 is the official day to wear green to raise awareness about mental health. Hurricanes staff began showing their support days in advance, with Assistant Principal Mrs. Banks taking the lead.

Jason Eugene, Staff Writer

In recognition of May being Mental Health Awareness and Trauma Informed Care Month, Assistant Principal Mrs. Banks has launched the “Get Your Green On” campaign or “GYGO” at school.

Mrs. Banks invited the staff to participate by wearing green, “the visible color to bring awareness to mental health,” in advance of May 20, the official day of the GYGO campaign. 

“The goal of this operation is to have teachers wear their green outfit in order to bring awareness to mental health,” Mrs. Banks said. Staff members responded by showing their color in support.

Mental health “includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being,” according to “It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.” There are many factors that contribute to one’s mental health status, added, including trauma, abuse, genes and more.

The Get Your Green On campaign “aims to raise awareness by creating visible support and fostering safe spaces to talk openly about mental health and trauma,” said the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Palm Beach County. 

There is an abundance of mental health conditions, according to They include bipolar disorder, depression, eating disorders and schizophrenia.

For many, the global covid pandemic also has been a factor, said Mrs. Banks.

“All students’ — not just Inlet Grove students’ — mental health has been affected by distance learning, no social interaction with their friends,” Mrs. Banks said. “The challenges for a student in mental health are recognizing the signs and knowing how to ask for help.”

“Mental health is an under-recognized ‘pandemic’  in itself, said Nurse Graham, the school’s medical director. “Inlet Grove should in particular highlight mental health as it is a grave concern that affects our high school student population on a daily basis.”

Nurse Graham said mental health challenges have risen with people across the world, adding: “The current pandemic has definitely contributed to heightened depressive episodes among many of our already emotionally challenged ‘Quaranteens.’ “

Nurse Graham said her “greatest concern as a mother, wife and daughter was the concern that it could take the life of one of my family members or someone I loved.”

“Mental health is just as important as physical health and it is often overlooked,” said student Willenska Charles. 

“It’s important for Inlet Grove students and staff to care about Mental Health Awareness Month because it affects everyone in school and many kids and adults go through it.” said student Ary Gramajo Lopez. “It’s important to let others know that they are not alone.”

‘It’s a topic that should be talked about more in the world,” said Sean Campi, “and has become even more of an issue due to the pandemic.” said that there are many ways for someone to get help if struggling with mental health. Some examples are: 

  •  The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK 
  •  Emergency Medical Services at 911 
  • The SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline at 1-877-SAMHSA7.

Mrs. Banks said she wants everyone to know that “Mental Health Awareness month is about educating everyone about mental health.” 

One in four adults and one on five youths (ages 13 to 18) “experience serious mental health concerns,” she said, and “60% of adults and 50% of youth in need of treatment do not receive help due to limited/no knowledge of their mental health needs, barriers to receiving care, or fear and shame.

“It is important,” said Mrs. Banks “that we all be aware to remove the stigma of mental illnesses, recognize the signs, ask for help, and support others who may suffer from mental illness.

Photos by Jason Eugene and Layla Mahoney. Slideshow produced by Photo Editor Sephora Charles and Co-Editor Mariel Beckford.