Penn Manor High School recently hosted “The Talk,” a workshop designed to encourage neighboring schools to establish or bolster their efforts to address students’ mental health needs through the Aevidum program.
About 100 students from 10 high schools and four middle schools from as far away as Downingtown took part in the January 31 workshop, which emphasized Aevidum’s four characteristics of a healthy school community: acceptance, appreciation, acknowledgement, and caring.
Students heard from a girl who lost her brother to suicide, participated in team-building exercises and discussed ways to develop or strengthen Aevidum Clubs in their schools.
Members of the Penn Manor High School Aevidum Club helped lead the workshop activities, explaining to the audience why Aevidum is important to them. Penn Manor has had a high school club since 2013; an Aevidum Club was formed at Marticville Middle School in 2015. Combined, the clubs have about 65 members.
Members work to spread the message that “we’ve got your back” by posting signs and hosting activities that encourage their peers to come forward to talk about their mental health struggles. The ultimate goal is to prevent suicides.
Maria Vita, a high school psychology teacher and co-advisor for the club, said the workshop helped spread the main goal of Aevidum – ending the shame associated with talking freely about mental health.
“So many people struggle with feelings of anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem,” she said. “At the end of the workshop, student volunteers spoke about how the day impacted them,” Vita said. “The resounding theme was that students did not feel alone. They felt supported.”
Many thanks to the Penn Manor Aevidum club members and advisors who helped make this workshop possible.