Canandaigua Schools are taking steps to build mental health awareness

Canandigua, NY – It’s okay to ask for help.

Caroline Healey, a junior at Canandigua Academy, who suffers from anxiety, did by reaching out to counselors earlier in the year when the pandemic made her anxiety exacerbate. Caroline said they were helpful, and she is grateful that they, as well as the teachers, were able to help her with schoolwork and direct her toward the resources at her disposal.

“I’m much better now,” Caroline said.

May is Mineral Health Awareness Month. With the COVID-19 pandemic, young people’s mental health concerns have risen nationally – so much so that the Surgeon General has urged a call to action to address young people’s mental health concerns.

Caroline and others are interfering with the schools and community of Canandaigua – literally. She and many others in the school community co-planned and announced the 10am-4pm Mental Health Walk on Sunday at the Canandigua Academy Track, the culmination of Kindness Week in Canandigua Schools.

The event is part of a mission to stop the stigma surrounding mental health, according to Lynne Ducharme, principal school counselor for grades K-12.

Proceeds benefit from Finger Lakes Family Counseling Service, an agency that provides professional counseling and support services to individuals, children, and families.

“Our students have faced many challenges over the past three years with the pandemic and our shifts in education from virtual to hybrid and back to in-person education,” Ducharme said in an email. “They have been resilient in many ways through these changes, but it wasn’t easy and they had to Most of our students learn to reconnect socially.”