Typically, May marks Mental Health Awareness Month, but a high schooler says more light should be shed on it, more often.
That’s why she established Mental Health Awareness Week – to send a message to students alike and different – it’s okay, not to be okay.
“It’s okay, it’s not taboo.”
18-year-old Bella Dobrinski is talking about mental health.
“I think it’s a really important thing for kids, especially in high school you know we go through so much with athletics and music and school it can be a lot to kind of take on yourself,” she said.
Back in February, she arranged with Minot High School and HOSA – Health Occupation Students of America, the club she’s President of, to hold ‘Mental Health Awareness Week,’ at both MHS campuses.
Instead, due to the coronavirus, it’s this week, with each day focusing on a different aspect of mental health awareness.
For example, Thankful Thursday.
She said, “We need to kind of take a step back and realize that we have a lot to be thankful for despite what’s going on.”
Her teacher and HOSA advisor, Mitch Meyer, says he’s thankful for her drive to make Mental Health Awareness Week happen.
She and the crew that is in HOSA and setting up mental health week, they’ve all done such a good job of putting together resources for kids,” said Meyer.
Among those resources is something as simple as a green ribbon to show solidarity.
“It’s really great to see kids coming to the table and say ‘hey I want to get one of those,’ Meyer said. “They’re not going to initiate to come up and get a pin without identifying that, ‘hey this is something serious and we need to take this seriously and let’s all work together.'”
He added that it’s especially helpful that the push for mental health awareness comes from a peer.
While Bella took the initiative, other HOSA members say it was an easy ship to jump aboard.
“She’s very hard working and it’s nice to have a president who is making HOSA more involved in the school and in the club alone,” said HOSA member, Alissa Barber. “And it’s really nice to see that the whole club is coming together to get more involved and it’s nice to have a leader like that, too.”
Alissa and Bella agree that any bad feelings that come from struggles with mental health should be talked about.
“While I might be feeling down sometimes or really anxious, I don’t have to go through it alone,” Bella urged.
Knowing that there is support out there, she says it doesn’t have to be all-consuming, even though sometimes it may feel like it.
She, herself, is a pretty busy girl.
To name a few, she’s the secretary of Honor Society, the vice president of the Spanish club, she plays the cello, was golf captain, and this is all on top of navigating her senior year and planning what comes after.
While the many aspects of life can be overwhelming, for her, they can be helpful, too.
“I realize that that’s what makes me feel good so I try to keep my mental health in balance by doing all these things that I enjoy.”
And for her peers who may not know what fuels them, she encourages them to have the confidence to find out.
That’s what makes Bella Dobrinski ‘Someone You Should Know.’