Bay High Schools’ student-led mental health initiative
Bay High Senior, Norah Schlegel ‘23, co-started the BHS Mental Health Advisory Group alongside BHS grads, Annalise Johnson ‘21, Priya Goddard ‘21, Aliza Butchart ‘23, and BHS Principal Jason Martin. Currently the group is led by myself, Norah Schlegel ‘23, BHS Principal Jason Martin, and Athletic Director Matt Spellman, who also runs the Sources of Strength Group.
The Mental Health Advisory Group was started after the profound loss of fellow student, Sabrina DuPrey ‘22, in January 2021 and the swatting incident that occurred at Bay High School during the end of January 2021. Each year during Mental Health Awareness Month, which takes place in May, we host a variety of educational events and fundraisers to promote the advocation and education of mental health in the Bay Village community.
Each day during the designated Mental Health Awareness Week, we pick a mental or neurological condition to recognize and wear the color of awareness for the day. Alongside, we share information about the condition and coping mechanisms that work for not only that condition, but could universally work for anything.
In the group's first fundraiser in 2021, our group raised money for the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Art & Music Therapy Center in honor of BHS grad, Damon Bower ‘20, who passed away in June 2021 following a tremendous battle with cancer. The Cleveland Clinic Children’s Art & Music Therapy Center was one of Damon’s favorite coping mechanisms and distractions while being treated with chemo and radiation.
Bay High School PTSA provided the BHS Mental Health Advisory Group with funds to start The Reset Room. The Reset Room is a place with minimal lighting, sensory friendly seating, and fidget toys that allows students the opportunity to decompress and feel content as they head back to class. Very fortunately, our group was so successful that we were able to keep following our mission and returned in 2022 with similar events and a different organization to donate to.
For our group's second go-around in May 2022, we decided to donate all of the money raised during the fundraiser to the Sabrina Noelle Foundation, which was started by the mom of Sabrina DuPrey, Kristen DuPrey. That year was even more successful and the group has had the opportunity to return for May of 2023.
This year, the group is going big and will be hosting a bake sale, health fair, fundraisers, and pep rallies with student vs. staff games. Our big fundraiser is our “Dunk A Teacher” fundraiser, that allows students to buy tickets to be entered into the raffle to dunk one of six staff members: Principal Jason Martin, School Resource Officer Ben Kitchen, Band Director Darren Allen, Intervention Specialist Rick Manderine, Gym Teacher Ryan Gorius, and Security Office employee Brandon Jones.
The Mental Health Advisory Group will be donating all of their proceeds to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Chapter of Greater Cleveland. We would like to thank everyone in the community for all of their support in our efforts to increase the advocation and education of mental health in our community.
I am a current senior at Bay High School who is interested in sharing about upcoming community events at School, & educating people about mental health.