By: Alexandra Sprouls ’19
The Mental Health Awareness Project, also known as M.A.P., is a new club created at Staples this year devoted to spreading awareness about suicide and depression while removing the negative stigmas commonly associated with them.
“Not everyone is personally affected by a mental health issue, but everyone is indirectly affected as most people have a friend or family member who is affected by mental health issues and joining this club will provide a deeper understanding on the topics surrounding mental health and the stigma associated with it.” Sally McGee ’18, one of the M.A.P.’s founders, said.
The members of the Mental Health Awareness Project have participated in an after-school bake sale and a suicide prevention walk and plan on having more events this upcoming year. The club is anticipating having speakers, participating in bake sales and car washes, selling “Shells of Hope” kits after school and possibly even conducting a charity walk.
The program “Shells of Hope” was brought to the Mental Health Awareness Project by Max Eigen ’19, one of the club’s founders, who encouraged the club to sell necklace-making kits for $5 made up of shells, strings, and beads with all profits going towards charities funding awareness and acceptance of mental illnesses.
The idea for “Shells of Hope” was spurred by the increase of suicide occurring in his community as Eigen said he “couldn’t just sit by and watch it happen.”
Club meetings generally occur once or twice a month consisting of discussions about future event ideas that would generate positive mental health awareness throughout the school, and even the community.
“What makes M.A.P. different is that it’s the first of its kind at Staples, and supports an issue that has only in the last decade become more publicly accepted and talked about. One out of every four people in the United States deal with some type of mental illness, so whether or not you know someone with a mental illness, by raising funds with M.A.P. you know you’re helping someone.” an active club member, Eden Schumer ’18, said
For those interested in becoming members of M.A.P. or in the topics the club discusses, Schumer is “more than happy to be a resource for people who want to know more about mental illness, mental health, or associated organizations.”