Hemet Unified School District is committed to supporting the whole child. Providing classes and programs to students so they are able to succeed academically is only a portion of what District staff does. In order to ensure our students are successful, we provide various resources and support systems for our students. This year, Tahquitz’s licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) created a Mental Health Fair to help create a school environment that students feel comfortable talking about mental health issues.
“I see many students that have mental health needs, whether it be in the area of trauma, substance abuse, or challenges with parents, but did not know where to go or who to contact,” said Tahquitz’s MFT Jessica Oakes. Jessica wanted to create an event that raised awareness about mental health providers in the community, while simultaneously reducing the stigma around mental illness on campus.
Jessica emailed staff and students to inform them about the Mental Health Fair. The Fair took place on December 2nd during both lunch periods. In the email she stated a variety of vendors would be there to help answer questions students may have. Jessica had vendors who specialized in depression, substance abuse, emergency shelters, and much more.
Jessica said she has received a lot of positive feedback from students. She said the turnout surpassed any expectation she had. During both lunches, students were lining up at each of the booths to talk to the vendors. Due to its success, Jessica said she is planning on making this a bi-annual event. She has already spoken to many of the providers that were in attendance and said they would like to be a part of the next Mental Health Fair.
Thank you Jessica for connecting students to mental health providers that can offer additional support for them. This event allowed students to speak openly and access support systems that will be invaluable to them.