By Natalia Bermudez
It’s a scene we’re all too familiar with. Kids surrounded by textbooks frantically cramming for the biggest test of the semester, cries of how somebody’s future is ruined because of their test score, the loud thud of people running to the class they’re going to be late for. These are just glimpses of the stress that thrives in the hallways of Lincoln High School, an issue that’s difficult to ignore.
Full of hope for fixing this issue is Mental Health Education and Research (MEAR) Club President, Bella Bravo.
“MEAR is a student-run mental health club at Lincoln High School,” Bravo explained. “And part of our mission is to decrease stigma around mental health.”
The club began last school year, during Bravo’s sophomore year at Lincoln.
“Two of my friends, Jina Lim and Joey Mock had been thinking about a mental health club […] [and] they were watching my struggles during freshman year […] and wished they had a way to help me and […] knew more about mental health,” Bravo said. “The whole point of the club was to help the student body so I think it’s kind of awesome that it came from the idea of them wanting to help me and everyone else as well.”
Bravo recognizes how universal her struggles are to Lincoln students, and aims to address Lincoln’s problems directly.
“There’s always this competition and there’s always this idea that if you’re not getting As, if you’re not taking IB classes, you’re less than. ” Bravo stated. “I think there are a very little number of students that go to our school that could say ‘yeah, I’ve never had any problems’- I doubt there is anyone at our school who can say that.”
Bravo acknowledges that the issue requires addressing from both faculty and students.
“Faculty just needs to look out for their students,” Bravo stated. “I think a lot of the faculty is doing a really good job at that. I think that a lot of the faculty really cares.”
As for students, she advised “Look into yourself. I feel like a lot of the time we’re told to look out for each other, which is extremely extremely important, but you need to look out for yourself first and make sure that you’re okay because if you’re out helping everyone else, and something’s happening with you, it’s not going to be helpful.”
Bravo also believes that noticing what good mental health is within yourself and others can be difficult.
“When I describe it, I feel like I’m trying to describe perfection, which is not what it is. I think just being happy. Just being able to be happy but also being able to be sad, but not having that sadness being a threat to you. You’re able to feel your emotions without it being harmful to you or to other people around you.”