High School Students Pursue Mental Health Program for Teens

| May 5, 2024 | 0 Comments

By Audrey Fundingsland, Point Loma High School Class of 2025

My friends and I have created a mental health advocacy group at Point Loma High School called Pointing Out the Obvious (POTO) which is dedicated to improving the mental health of local teens. We are publicizing our work so we can further spread our message of self care. Our hope is to promote our website Potopl.com which connects teens to various resources, hotlines, warm lines, and general healthy habits. One habit being, drinking at least two glasses of water a day can decrease your risk of depression.

Prior to us creating this website we did a school wide survey asking students what issue primarily needs to be addressed and the overwhelming majority stated they needed mental health care. Over 550 students responded in the first 48 hours.

Since then, we’ve hosted many events on campus including a school wide presentation trying to connect teens with resources they may need.  However, we want to branch out and help teens in our community rather than just our school specifically.

We are participating in the Aspen Challenge which is a competition against 18 other high schools to create the best solution to various topics. This challenge is funded by Jeff Bezos. If our team wins our school may receive extra funding and/or new technology.

Talor, one of our teammates, coded an app called POTOConnect. It provides chat rooms for high school students and college students majoring in psychology to discuss various mental health issues as well as to create a safe space for general conversations. It is available for Android beta testing and an iOS version is being developed.

Point Loma High School Students compete in Aspen Challenge, which is a competition against 18 other high schools to create the best solution to various topics.

Our team member Kat coded a website called POTOPL.com which acts as a hub for many mental health resources, including hotlines, warmlines, general resources, and healthy habits.

We launched our Instagram page (@PLPoto) with event updates and healthy habit reminders.

Team member Danya wrote an article featured in the Point Loma Lifestyle Magazine, a local publication.

We arranged a zoom meeting with Adia Fadaei, the president of PLNU’s Active Minds Club. She is a mental health advocate who has worked with the Biden Harris Administration and Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez and advised us on future steps we should take to further this cause.

We have met with SHARE coordinators, a mental health club at Point Loma High School, to discuss future events we can host.

We hosted a school-wide, student-led presentation on April 12 to inform students about mental health resources, fun stress relieving activities, and informed them on further events we plan to facilitate. We included an interactive, puzzle activity to engage students.

After the presentation, we handed out 300 self-care goodie bags that included an affirmation bracelet, a stuffed animal, a positive sticker, a resource card including multiple hotlines and warmlines, and another business card with our contact information.

We hosted a friendship bracelet making activity, rock painting, journaling (donated to us by Art FORM), and paper crane making sessions during lunch time on various days.  This allowed us to promote a positive community and introduce students to fun de-stressing activities. These coping mechanisms can be used to relieve anxiety they may have in the weeks before school tests.

Our team also branched out to the Point Loma Farmers Market to offer free rock painting for those who were present.  It was very popular. All the rocks will be donated to Dewey Elementary and Ek?be School Of Learning.

The 1,000 paper cranes folded by Point Loma High School students will be donated to the UCSD hospital as soon as we get confirmation.

Our team attended an online zoom meeting with UCSD Psychology professors to learn about teen mental health struggles and the different ways we can help.

Going forward, our team will continue to update the website, test the full Android and iOS version of POTOConnect, host more community and school crafting sessions, turn our team into a club that meets regularly so that we can continue our mission and recruit more people for our club so it remains active for years to come.

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Category: Education, Events, feature, Health & Fitness, Local News, School, Students

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