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    Monday, October 14, 2019-5:01:10P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Mental Health Fair held at FMS school

IN observance of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, about 20 community and government agencies held a Mental Health Fair at Francisco M. Sablan Middle School in San Antonio on Wednesday to educate students about mental health issues.

Garrett Lee Smith Youth Suicide Prevention program manager Ana Ada said the Mental Health Fair is part of a series of events they will conduct at middle and high schools.

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Northern Marianas College was one of the presenters at the Mental Health Fair hosted by Francisco M. Sablan Middle School on Wednesday.  Photo by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

She said they want students to learn about mental health issues. “When people hear the word ‘mental’ they think you it’s about someone crazy or with a disability. But it is about having resiliency to overcome negative things and turn them into positives.”

She added, “Receiving counseling or therapy is not something to be embarrassed about. I have seen sad kids who come in our office and they don’t even say ‘hi’ to me. But after three sessions, they come in, say ‘hi’ and sign their own names and [you could] see that a burden has been lifted from them.”

She said some people are not mentally and emotionally strong to overcome short-term challenges. “A lot of people need help and they should not be embarrassed about it.”

The Mental Health Fair at FMS, she said, provided information and resources about where to get help when students need it.

FMS principal Cherlyn Cabrera said many students were actively engaged in the discussions during the various presentations.

She said homeroom teachers also participated in the Mental Health Fair.

“Our teachers will discuss the different presentations with their students,” she added. “We are hoping that deeper discussions will happen in the classroom so we can know what our students are feeling and thinking and how we can help them.”

Cabrera said the Mental Health Fair taught the students how to be mentally resilient.

“As a school, we teach our students academics, but we also want them to be resilient and strong on the inside. Sometimes we think kids will just cope but we don’t give them the tools, skills and resources. This is what the Mental Health Fair does — providing them with what they need,” Cabrera said.