South Orangetown Central School District

Through a colorful display near the school’s main entrance, South Orangetown Middle School students have raised their voices to share the message that #MentalHealthMatters. Organized by SOMS Prevention Counselor Bobbie-Angela Wong, students were encouraged to submit a meaningful hashtag via a school-wide Google Form to reflect the many facets of mental health including emotions, social wellbeing, stress, anxiety and body image.

Seventh-graders Eva F. and Megan T. selected an array of student-submitted hashtags and created artwork to accompany the chosen messages with the goal of capturing mental health in a unique way. “Everyone’s mental health is different,” explained Eva. “This is a way for everyone to share what’s on their mind, how they’re feeling or something inspirational.”

“My favorite hashtags we chose are #speakup and #stophateandspreadlove,” Megan added. “They’re encouraging and meaningful.”

Throughout May, students have participated in a variety of activities as part of Mental Health Awareness Month, including Mindful Monday, Talk About It Tuesday, Wind Down Wednesday, Hashtag Thursday and Focus On You Friday that prioritize mental health through daily practice of effective strategies.

“Students often see school as only academics,” said Wong. “We wanted to give them the opportunity to really take control of their mental health by creating their own motto. Combining it with art is also something that allows students to cope and see things in a different light. We hope that these messages will resonate with our school community and, perhaps, offer them something that they need to hear in a given moment.”

Student and teacher posing in front of bulletin board of hashtag projects