West Delaware Counselors Raise Awareness Concerning Mental Health


Shelby Piersch

West Delaware counselors raise awareness for mental health by creating the “Together We Are” campaign.

Juliette Weber, Staff

Stigma: “a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person,” as defined by Oxford Languages.

Mental health carries a stigma around the United States, reaching from big city New York to small town Iowa. 

 West Delaware schools are not immune to this stigma, causing students’ mental health to suffer as struggling students tiptoe precariously around the so‒called “mark of disgrace.” 

Child Mind Institute states 55% of students have seen an increase in emotional distress in the last two years. Yet, 50% of the distressed students do not seek help. West Delaware counselors noticed this increase personally and decided it was time to take action. 

Eliminating the stigma is first and foremost on the list for West Delaware counselors. They believe presenting a more open perspective on mental health is key for growth at West Delaware. 

“We want to create an understanding that the brain is an organ that can get sick too,” counselor Shelby Piersch said. Counselors plan to help students change the way they talk about mental health, by providing perspective and support.  

One way the counselors plan to spread awareness is by providing t-shirts for all students and staff. These shirts will be designed by students and will represent the themes of #BRAIN HEALTH MATTERS, #WDSTRONG, and #STOPPING THE STIGMA. 

[Something] just as simple as wearing a shirt can have such a big impact on someone we don’t know.”

— Counselor Shelby Piersch

“I think little things like that make such a big impact in our community,“ Piersch said. “[Something] just as simple as wearing a shirt can have such a big impact on someone we don’t know.” This first step will present mental health as an acceptable topic to speak about— helping to eliminate the stigma. 

The next plan of action by West Delaware counselors is to provide brain health awareness activities during homeroom time, as well as adding little reminders. 

“I call it passive programming,“ Piersch said. “We will have some new items and little reminders to say, ‘Hey, don’t forget about brain health. Reach out if you need it.’” 

All in all, their goal is for students to feel safe and supported when reaching out about their mental health struggles.