By Brianna Lehr
In the middle of September, Jessica Owrutsky, Brianna Lehr, and Madison Lester from Red Lion, and other selected amounts of students were chosen from each school district in York County to attend a youth mental health alliance conference at Wyndham Garden York Hotel.
During this meeting, the youth came together and talked about how to make Mental Health more known throughout York County, and created a name for the alliance called The Silence Ends Here supported with the hashtag “I am because you are”.
The reason behind this group is to reach out to people who are struggling with a mental health issue or who know someone who is struggling. The goal is to let them know that they are not alone, and that arms are always open.
The Silence Ends Here has had two other meetings since September.
The most recent meeting included several panelists who hold government and federal positions, who were asked several questions relating to mental health and how to make it more acknowledged.
The Silence Ends Here is just a group of young people, who are trying to crush the stigma of Mental Health, in the idea that Mental Health issues are not fake or “crazy” but all too real.
By Ian Adler
“We have to continue, in all of our communities, to shatter the stigma associated with mental illness, and let people know that it’s an illness, so let’s get help.”
Answering the call to help, as the Aevidum spirit represents, around 300 participants showed up to run the Aevidum “Color Blast 5k” on Sunday, October 4. The race began at Manor Middle School and followed the school’s 3.1 mile cross-country course.
A color blast is a “friendly” run, in which various colors of powder are thrown on the runners by volunteers throughout the course. The event featured DJ services, post-run snacks, and a finale “color bomb”, where a powder tossing free-for-all coated the runners with all the remaining rainbow dust.
The second annual color blast is just one of many events that Aevidum hosts, ranging from community talk events, talent shows, music or poetry nights and anything that schools that host the organization decide to hold.
“The whole goal is to promote positive mental health,” said Executive Director of Aevidum Joe Vulopas. “Places where people are accepted, appreciated, acknowledged and cared for.”
The color blast was described as “more of a community event” by Vulopas, due to the partnership with Teen Hope, a branch of the Samaritan Counseling Center, that helps middle and high schools to screen teenagers for mental illnesses. The money raised from the event was split in donation to both Teen Hope and the Aevidum organization.
“It was a great experience,” said senior and Red Lion Aevidum club member Hayley Althoff. “The atmosphere was amazing, I loved being a part of it. I actually thought that there was going to be 50 people there, but there were like 300 and most of them were teens.”
Both the community atmosphere and the warmth and welcoming nature of the both participants and volunteers definitively showed that the Aevidum spirit was alive and well.
“I feel like depression and things of that sort are becoming more prevalent,” said Althoff. “I think that it needs to be made aware of, especially when you have kids in your own school committing suicide and you don’t even know that they’re depressed until something like that happens.”
Red Lion not only brought student participants, but also adult volunteers, including both club advisors Mrs. Rohrbaugh and Mrs. Persing.
“Overall, I thought it was a lot of fun,” said Rohrbaugh, who spent the duration of the event handing water to the runners. “I think the kids enjoyed it, we raised a lot of money and it was a success from an overall standpoint.”
“Between our 20 participants, ranging from elementary to high school, we raised $500, which is pretty impressive,” said Rohrbaugh. Overall, the event raised about.
“Whenever I speak, I always say that we all have a role in making sure that our children are healthy. What is that role that we have?” said Vulopas. “Today, at this event, there were people from everywhere here, which again just surrounds these kids so they know that they can do the right thing, that we care for them.”
By Natasha McLane
Aevidum’s Color Blast 5k on October 4 was, as the name suggests, an absolute blast. The 5k isn’t the only event students have to look forward to, as there is plenty more to come.
For those who don’t know, “Aevidum is a student-based support group that brings awareness of and support for mental health awareness and suicide prevention,” said Mrs. Andrea Rohrbaugh, co-adviser of the Red Lion Aevidum club.
According to Teenmentalhealth.org, 1 in 5 teenagers have a mental illness. This ranges from depression and anxiety, to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and even anorexia. Sadly, suicide is the third 3rd leading cause of death in ages 14-24 years old. The impact of a mental illness is devastating.
In 2004, a teenager in Lititz, Pennsylvania and student at Cocalico High School committed suicide. In this tragic event, Aevidum was formed by high schoolers at Cocalico and teacher/Executive Director Joe Vulopas and is now taking storm across the nation. “Even when we’re faced with the deepest and darkest tragedies, there is always learning, there is always something good that can come of it,” said Dr. Brenda Becker, Superintendent of LItitz Area Schools.
In 2014, Red Lion launched the start of Aevidum. Starting this year Aevidum plans to have lessons during Academic Prep period. Aevidum will also make the school more aware of depression and prevention of suicide along with always keeping the door open for those who need a hand. Hence the term, “I’ve Got Your Back.”
This year alone, numerous students have already reached out to Aevidum. One who struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts should not be ashamed. “Our society tends to shame or ignore those with mental illnesses, and I want to change that,” said singer-songwriter, and activist Demi Lovato. This is exactly what Aevidum does, brings support and awareness.
Those that struggle on a day-to-day basis should know they are not alone, and that it is “Okay to talk about,” said Andrea Rohrbaugh.
In the past, clubs signups began a few weeks into the school year, and clubs themselves began in late October. Recently, a committee of Red Lion teachers have come together with an idea of change.
Club periods are an enjoyed break from the everyday lives of Red Lion students.
Since the high school first introduced the flex bell schedule, club periods have fallen on the last day of a seven-day rotation. In the upcoming school year, they are set to most likely continue this trend. The difference will be the date that clubs kick off.
The school will make club signups available at the end of the current school year instead of waiting until the beginning of the next. This will enable clubs to begin in early September instead of late October.
Mrs. Wilson, Red Lion science teacher, is one of the teachers on the committee that came up with this idea. She hopes that this will raise club participation from its current 65% to 80%. “I am impressed how much club participation has grown,” said Wilson, “but I know that we can do even better.”
When asked, senior Bailey Tomes thought the early club date is an excellent idea. “This will be especially beneficial for clubs like Mini-THON,” said Bailey. “They won’t have to waste time at the beginning of the school year, and they can get right down to business.”
Junior Mickayla Smith, however, had some reservations about the changes to clubs. “I think that it could benefit certain clubs, but what about the incoming freshman?” asked Mickayla. “I hope they can explain it well enough to them, and that they already have their student council members chosen.”
Club signups began on May 12 and will run until the end of the school year. Students may go to Edline for the provided link to sign up for a club. Future clubs to look out for include Yoga, Slapstick Hockey, Faith (Religion), iPhone Photography, and Scrapbooking.
To sign up, visit http://tinyurl.com/rlclubs1516
By Helen Zeidman
One fifth of teenagers have a mental health disorder, according to the National Center for Children in Poverty.
Aevidum, a new club at Red Lion, is hoping to prevent this statistic from becoming a reality in our community.
The word “aevidum” was made by the student at Cocalico High School when one of their fellow students committed suicide. The word means “I’ve got your back.” A group of students decided to make a positive outcome from the tragedy.
So, they formed Aevidum.
This group of students, including sophomore Mickayla Smith, Juniors Ian Adler and Hayley Athoff, and Senior Katelyn Willey, are determined to bring the program to the high school.
“The club is completely run by students,” sa Ms. Rohrbaugh, teacher advisor for Aevidum. The school psychologist, Mrs. Persing, is also advising the club.
In October, Mrs. Rohrbaugh, invited this group of students to attend the Let’s Talk PA! press conference in Lancaster.
“You could feel the energy bouncing off everywhere,” said Willey.
Over 30 schools attended the conference to start off another year of spreading awareness about mental health issues.
“There were a bunch of people from different schools. Those who were already a part of the club were connecting us as one,” said Smith.
The energetic conference inspired the group of students to bring the excitement back to their school.
“When Mrs. Rohrbaugh told us about the conference, it was really vague,” said Adler. “But when we got there I thought, ‘This is awesome.’”
On Friday, November 12, the kick-off assembly was held in the auditorium.
Willey and her fellow leaders of Aevidum at Red Lion organized the assembly on Friday and will continue to plan most of the club’s events.
The presentation started with Smith and Adler wearing banana suits.. The club’s purpose and future plans were finally revealed.
Aevidum at Red Lion will focus on increasing acceptance, appreciation, acknowledgement, and care in the high school.
The club already has several ideas to accomplish that goal.
According to Willey, the club has their first activity in the works. They plan on hosting Red Lion’s first paint battles. As a fundraiser, white shirts will be sold by the club members. All of the money will go to kick starting the club and extra will go to charities that deal with mental health awareness.
Then, they will organize paint stations and students will paint handprints on each other’s shirts to show that they have each other’s backs.
“We would have paint everywhere,” said Willey.
The club is also planning on creating an Aevidum lounge as a place where students can have a comfortable place to relax and to get help.
These plans are in the works, but the club needs the students’ help. More members are needed to organize events and activities. Anyone who is interested should contact Mrs. Rohrbaugh or Mrs. Persing, the school’s psychologist and co-advisor for Aevidum.
“Everyone is welcome. That’s what makes Aevidum different,” said Athoff.
Follow @aevidum on twitter for updates and different ways to get involved