By Pallavi Rudraraju, VA Middle School Program Coordinator
Photos courtesy of Ha Nguyen
You may not know it, but May, in addition to being APAHM – Asian Pacific American Heritage Month – is also Mental Health Awareness Month. Thanks to the support of Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board, for the first two weeks of May, Poe Middle School AALEADers hosted a youth-led Stress Less Week for their peers at school.
The goal of this week is to help our youth learn about mental health challenges, stereotypes as well as stigmas, and to empower youth to take control of their mental health. According to the American Psychological Association, only 8.6 percent of Asian-Americans sought any type of mental health services or resource compared to nearly 18 percent of the general population nationwide. This project will help in educating our youth and openly discussing the reasons why there is a stigma and through this understanding increase their awareness of supportive resources.
We had a blast participating in educational and fun activities to help us learn about and relieve stress. The best part of our Stress Less Week is that it was entirely planned out, researched, and implemented by our Poe AALEAD youth!
We would like to recognize the funding by the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board as a program of the Northern Virginia Suicide Prevention Plan, made possible by a grant from the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services; which enables our AALEADers to plan out this Stress Less Weeks holistically!