Purple Lanyards Are Here to Help

To all students out there struggling with mental health, there may be a new way to help. Many Fauquier High School teachers have recently undergone extensive training in mental health awareness. Meaning that these teachers are now well trained to help students who struggle with mental health. To signify their training in the matter, these teachers wear purple lanyards around their necks which help students identify the trained from the untrained.

The course required to be taken in order to receive certification is called the Mental Health First Aid class. Anyone with hopes of becoming certified can take the class, which predominantly helps trainees understand different mental illnesses and how to go about helping people through them. The training helps people better understand illnesses such as depression, anxiety, psychotic disorders, personality disorders, and many more. This class was put together in hopes of bringing mental health awareness to public schools, and to give students support where they otherwise could never find it.

When asked what they thought of the new program, Fauquier students responses were extremely enthusiastic: “I think it’s a great idea and initiative, because it helps students who need it. Also, I think it helps bring awareness to the cause, because not many people know that so many struggle with a mental illness.” Said junior Hannah Robbins. Robbins said this with a smile, and expressed her gratitude to the teachers who signed up to be vetted. When asked, senior Bridget Ward responded with the same positive aura: “I think it’s such a big issue, that it’s really nice that the teachers are there to support it. I think everyone needs a support system. It takes a village… I think we all need to be there for each other.”

Mr. Walker is a teacher here at Fauquier who took the class and is now certified. When asked why he took the class, his answer came easily: “I have always had an interest in psychology, so when I heard they were offering this class, I jumped at the opportunity. I love my students and want to help them in any way I can.” He was also asked how/what he was trained in during class time, “Our role is not to treat you, but to refer you to someone that can help… we’re here to recognize the issue and to evaluate and see is this a serious issue… mainly my role in this is to recognize that there’s a problem, engage with that student, try to figure out what problems in their life may be causing them stress, and then either refer them to their guidance counselor or Emergency Medical Services (EMS) but that’s only if it’s extremely serious.”

If you or a friend is struggling with any mental issues, know you can always visit any teacher with a purple lanyard and/or purple sticker outside their door. Remember, they are “here to help.”

by celeste pollack