Students of Leonardo da Vinci High School in Buffalo filled a block on Porter Avenue Wednesday morning to raise funds for the Mental Health Advocates of Western New York.
A Walk-a-Thon was held after student leaders raised concerns that their peers are showing signs of low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety.
High School junior Badrun Nesa led the group that put the event together. She said it is important to take mental health seriously.
“It’s an issue that we don’t really look in our society today," said Nesa. "And I feel that it’s very prominent with us being teenagers and social media playing such a role in our every day activities. I feel like we should really try to create an impact and try to keep our mental health as well as we can because it impacts our well-being.”
Nesa said the pressures of the digital age present new challenges for teens.
“With Instagram and social media being so prominent, it’s hard for us to really create that development where, since there’s such an image put out that we need to look a certain way and be a certain way, we feel that when we can’t accomplish that there’s something wrong," she said.
The schools principal, Gregory Lodinsky, emphasized how important it was to have trained staff in the school who could help kids dealing with mental health issues.
“We have targeted individuals who are trained to deal with students who are dealing with mental health issues so that they know that they have safe places to go," Lodinsky said. "Confidential places to talk things out. And in places where they can learn how to deal with their stressors.”
To learn more about the Mental Health Advocates of Western New York, visit eriemha.org.