‘The Story of Us’ week brings awareness to mental health


Maria Krychniak

A student fills out their sticker with their personality type. Students found out their personality type by taking a quiz on Naviance.

Maria Krychniak, Staff Writer

Mental Health Awareness and Suicide Awareness Week, also called “The Story of Us” is this week to bring to attention that no one is alone when they are going through a hard time in their life.

“The whole point of the week is to remind everyone that we are not alone,” lead counselor and coordinator of the week, Amy Rodriguez said. “Whether you failed a test or a family member passed away, the purpose of mental and suicide awareness week is to let people know that everyone has problems and there are people you can always talk to.”

The Story of Us is something that is unique to Vandegrift. Rodriguez thought of the idea a while back and decided to put her idea into action. She formed a group of teachers and students that came up with the idea to dedicate the first week of November to focus on mental and suicide awareness.

“The teachers first approached the APAC and C2 members and asked if we were interested in helping out,” senior Caitlyn Hyde said. “It took a lot of meetings to plan it out but all the students and staff are super excited to see the end result. I am personally excited to see how each student learns more about themselves and their peers.”

Being not just a school counselor but also a licensed professional counselor, Rodriguez has a passion to  let students know that they can talk to people in their high school community when they are having a hard time in their life.

“We all may think that we are the only ones struggling but that is not the case,” Rodriguez said. “It’s important to understand that we all come from different backgrounds, and different story’s and we all have something to share, and that in reality no one’s life is perfect.”

The Story of Us has theme days Monday through Friday. Monday is “finding your code day”. Finding your code consists of students logging into Naviance and taking a questionnaire that will give them the results for their personality type. Students may pick their personality type stickers at different stations around the school on Monday.

“We have so many activities going on next week the students and faculty will be able to participate in,” Rodriguez said. “Students will have the opportunity to take the test and find out what personality type they are. Students will then wear a sticker with their personality type on their shirt. It’ll be a cool thing to see how some student’s personalities are different while others are similar.”

Tuesday is “Passing on Positivity,” Wednesday is “What’s your story?,” Thursday is “What’s our story?” and Friday is “Finding your light in the darkness.” Students and faculty will also have the opportunity to wear wristbands all week that represent hardships that they have gone through in their life, and hopefully will talk to one another about the obstacles they have had to overcome and become more aware of people’s backgrounds and stories.

“Its important that we all can lend a helping hand if someone is going through something,” Rodriguez said. “All of next week I hope that the importance of community at Vandegrift high school will come into light, and that we realize that we are all in this together.”

This is the first time that Vandegrift has had a Mental and Suicide Awareness Week. Rodriguez hopes to make it grow over the years and get the whole community involved. Rodriguez wants to bring to attention to students that they have counselors, teachers and peers to share their struggles with and that there is always someone that they can reach out to for help.

“The best thing that students and faculty can do is participate,” Rodriguez said. “To have people more aware about other people’s personality types, hardships, and stories, I think everyone will be able to understand each other more and will be able to help one another, and make the Vandegrift community a better place.”