KALISPELL — Flathead High School students who are members of HOSA have been creating events to raise awareness of mental health in the Flathead.
The latest event they created was “wear green for teen mental health awareness day” which was on March 2.
HOSA is an organization for future health professionals to get involved in the community.
“Basically you pick something you want to change in your community, and you just see where you can make an impact and make a difference. And so because of all that's going on in the valley, we picked mental health,” said Flathead High School HOSA member Keeley Mahoney.
The Flathead High School HOSA team decided to highlight mental health because of the high level of teen suicide in the Flathead Valley.
Suicide rates in teens between the ages of 11 and 17 in Montana are more than double the national average according to the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.
“We want to break the stigma on a lot of things that people aren't alone in their mental health,” said Flathead High School HOSA member Atlanta Waltman.
The next project will be to create a mural that will be displayed somewhere in the valley.
“And we are having a bunch of different people create artwork of things that bring them like happiness or things that make them feel calm. When they're stressed out, just something that they find personal and we are going to like collage it and then display it. - Flathead High School HOSA member Tasha Dunbar
With each event the Flathead HOSA team does, they are seeing higher participation and recognition.
The “wear green for teen mental health” is one of the group's biggest turnouts yet.
“I think that it sparked something for sure. So I feel like this is like a spark to what we're going to continue doing in the community,” concluded Waltman.