‘A day dedicated to learning about mental health’


Molly Heintze

This week, senior Kayla Barry talked to Bergen County Academies (BCA) junior Liza Maer. Maer told Barry about BCA’s first ever Mental Health Awareness Day.

Editor’s Note: Kayla’s Korner will be a reoccurring column that deals with mental health and teenage issues.

I had the opportunity to talk to Liza Maer, a junior at Bergen County Academies (BCA). She is a part of the performing arts academy. Maer talked to me about BCA’s first ever Mental Health Awareness Day held on March 5.

The seminar was the whole school day, but the day was held on a half day. The event consisted of an hour long workshop on varying mental health issues and two guest speakers.

The workshops were held in classrooms using a sign up list. Maer did not sign up for a workshop, so she was put into one randomly.

Her workshop was about physical pain. Each workshop was taught by an expert in their respective fields. Other workshops were on anxiety, depression, suicide, meditation, etc.

The speakers were in the auditorium. The first speaker was former Governor Richard J Codey of New Jersey. He talked about his wife’s battle with postpartum depression and breast cancer. He went into how mental illnesses are similar to a disease but are invisible.

The other speaker was Dr. Michael Fowlin (better known as Mykee). He is a psychologist as well as an actor.

Maer said that during the seminar, Fowlin took on the roles of different characters with backstories to teach students different aspects of mental health.

Maer had the opportunity to meet with Fowlin twice, and the first time she met him, she said that she was “balling her eyes out and saying how amazing he was,” and the second time, she actually talked to him.

She went on to say that he was her favorite part of the whole day.

She also continued that more schools should definitely do something like this.

I totally agree with Maer on this.

I think every school, especially Pascack Valley, should have a day dedicated to learning about mental health. PV should even implement a seminar like this next year.

This day would be beneficial to all students and faculty. It is important to learn about mental health, because mental health illnesses are very common among teens and adults. You never know what someone is dealing with and it is essential to be educated on the topic in case you or someone you know is struggling. You can help in talking to someone about it.

For example, some people don’t really understand depression. They assume that it is just being sad and that people with depression just have to be happy to get out of it.

If educated, though, these people can learn that depression is more than just a sadness. It is a feeling of tiredness. It is a feeling of emptiness and just like there is hole in the middle of your body. It is the feeling of not being liked or loved.

These types of seminars can also help those struggling with their mental health. It can show them that it is okay to feel like this and that they are not alone.

For these reasons alone, PV should definitely instate a day dedicated to learning about mental health. Other schools should follow BCA in having a day dedicated to the education of mental health.

Coming next: Kayla’s Korner will be continuing with weekly articles. Next week, Kayla Barry will be Kayla’s favorite music to listen to while calming down or when she’s anxious.