We are excited to partner with Kiwanis International and Key Clubs around the world to bring mental health awareness to school communities everywhere!

When was the last time you had a conversation with your peers or your teachers about mental health? Did any of your classes address the importance of caring for your emotional well-being and provide you with some practices to do this? Hopefully, your answer to these questions is yes, but for many students worldwide, that is not the case.

As Key Club members, we strive to make other people feel heard and accepted, and to do this, we must validate everyone’s mental health. For that reason, Key Club International is officially partnering with Erika’s Lighthouse, a youth-centered mental health organization.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, “1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year”. With such a prevalence of mental health disorders, conversations surrounding the topic are sparse. Erika’s Lighthouse aims to bring these discussions to schools so that students do not have to feel isolated in their struggles.

Erika’s Lighthouse provides educators, students, and parents with the tools to talk about mental health and encourages students to reach out if they are struggling. They offer a range of resources from presentations, conversation starters, and simple worksheets for you to share with your club. You can also give mental health presentations to local elementary schools or middle schools to serve younger students while promoting positive mental health practices.

An array of fundraisers and events that raise money for Erika’s Lighthouse are also encouraged. These funds then allow Erika’s Lighthouse to share their presentations about mental health with students. These events include walk-a-thons and dances, or you could get creative and host a unique event like a trivia night. Additionally, Key Club International partnered with Erika’s Lighthouse to empower teens and school communities during Mental Health Awareness Month through the Positivity Pledge

Your mental health matters, and so does that of your peers. As Key Club members, we have the power to be the students to start conversations about mental health and to crush any negative stigmas preventing people from seeking help, so start speaking up and reaching out.

Author: Jordan Reichhardt, Key Club Member