Reaching out to destigmatize mental health

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Anika Honken, Writer

On Monday, February 10, New Prague High School welcomed Kelly, a speaker with Mind Your Mind based out of Pennsylvania. She shared her experiences with anxiety and loneliness, and the path that led her to develop eating disorders and drug addictions. 

In her presentation, she explained the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. She eventually found help, and she now shares her story with students throughout the country. 

Kelly was able to speak in New Prague thanks to the Duck Cup Memorial. This is an organization that strives to bring awareness to the warning signs of suicide and suicide prevention. The Duck Cup Memorial was founded by a group of students from the New Prague graduating class of 2000. These high school friends did what most graduates do – they left home to continue their education. During their freshman year of college, one of the friends committed suicide. The others were left wondering what they could’ve done to help their friend. Not wanting others to experience losing a loved one to suicide, they founded the Duck Cup Memorial. 

The main goal of the Memorial is to raise awareness of the warning signs of suicide and mental health struggles. Along with bringing in guest speakers, the Duck Cup Memorial also includes other events to bring awareness to the New Prague area and surrounding communities. A popular event is the annual summer golf tournament. The Duck Cup Memorial constantly works to raise awareness around New Prague and destigmatize conversation on mental health. Especially with the world of social media, many teenagers can relate to Kelly’s story of feeling separated from others. However, the opportunities provided to hear the stories of survivors helps those struggling to know that they are not alone. 

If someone you know is struggling, you can help them by being there for them. Kelly left the audience with the message, “understand your story.” Mental illness does not look the same for everybody, but that doesn’t mean that no one can overcome their challenges.