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Mental Health Symposium tackles stigmas associated with issues impacting teens

Students at Silva Health Magnet High School are taking a closer look at some of the mental health issues that are impacting teenagers.

“We really need to talk about mental health, especially in the high school level. We need to be able to get these kids to talk with us and we need to be able to know what to do with that information and who to refer them to,” said Denise Galvez, an instructor at Silva.

The Mental Health Symposium discussed depression, eating disorders and stress to name a few.

“The most important thing is to start the conversation,” Galvez said. “Don’t be afraid about talking about mental health. There is nothing wrong with talking about it and it’s important to engage kids in the conversation.”

Students ABC-7 spoke with said a lot of their peers don’t want to talk about mental health, but they hope the symposium will start the conversation.

“A lot of people don’t have the tendency of talking about it,” student Taelor Rae Molinda said. “It’s OK to not be OK and to talk about it.”

Molinda said she was a victim of cyberbullying during her first year of high school.

“You feel very alone,” she said. “You don’t know what to do and having this symposium helps to let people know that you are not alone and you always have someone to turn to.”

Molinda said her friends and family helped her overcome her the bullying.

“It’s a broken world and being able to be positive and spreading something as little as a compliment can help someone so much,” Molinda said.

In light of the recent school massacre in Santa Fe, Silva principal Fred Rojas said holding these types of events may help prevent such a tragedy at his school.

“Let’s not get to the point where the student is no longer able to handle the issue,” he said. “Let’s look for the red flags that might be there.”

Rojas encouraged students to get help, saying, “Just like we practice for lockdowns, this, too, is a practice for us in providing the students with the information they need, so they know what to do in case they need some assistance.”

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