A new organization, promoting the conservation and education of mental health has been created in Lee’s Summit, and it’s creators are likely to be familiar faces to students here at West.
Seniors Allison Salamone, Tasneem Huq, and Mckenna Palmer created an organization, titled “Let’s Talk About It KC,” which began as a passion of Salamone’s, and a possibility to fulfil an IB Diploma requirement.
“Alli approached me with the idea for Let’s Talk About It as her CAS project, asking for my help as one of her close friends with some interest in the topic. Of course I accepted, especially after seeing how passionate she was,” Palmer said.
Both Huq and Salamone are IB Diploma Candidates. Huq said one of her initial interests in the organization came from the need of a CAS Project for IB.
“They want the students to not just be like, hitting the books, I guess. And so they require us to go outside and do stuff. So CAS, essentially sense for creativity, activity, and service. And every week, we’re required to fulfill, I guess, one CAS experience. And it doesn’t matter how long it is, typically, it’s about like, you know, an hour to two hours. And so the cas experience can be basically anything like, um, if you do a sport, then you can put that in every week as your cast activity. If you you know, you volunteer regularly, or if you’re an art class, and you can put that and so on weekly, we have to do that every week,” Huq said.
For Salamone, she said that she would have began the website, letstalkaboutitkc.wixsite.com/letstalkaboutit, and organization whether she required a CAS Project or not. The organization, or something similar, is something Salamone said she had been looking for a while, stemming from past personal experiences with mental health.
“I know there have been times where I haven’t really wanted to discuss it, because I feel like nobody else is going through that. And I just want people to know that there are always people going through something similar to what they are, and nobody’s going to be upset with them, if they reach out or if they start talking about it. It can only help,” Salamone said.
Salamone said she hopes that the website will help others to reach out for help, as she herself was “forced into it” by her mom; after her mom discovered she was self harming, her mom helped her get help through counseling.
“I had never really heard of anything that could have helped me until that happened,” Salamone said, “so I think if I had known more about the resources available I would have tried to utilize them.”
Like Salamone, Palmer also said she personally struggles with mental health. Palmer said that she has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which is a disorder that can take shape in different ways for different people.
“Contrary to popular belief, OCD really isn’t about being a clean freak and often presents itself in different ways. Personally, my experience is a mostly an organizational issue, being a very routine-based person who is easily overwhelmed by change, big or small, and experiencing serious bouts of depression from the feelings of stress it causes,” Palmer said.
Palmer said she hopes to develop a platform for narrative articles on others experiences, in the hopes of educating others on the many forms mental illness can take.
“I think having an opportunity to work on something that provides an educational resource for mental health topics from people who are personally connected to, impacted by, or are just generally knowledgeable about them is a pretty big honor for me and is something I definitely plan on continuing. It’s a discussion that can’t possibly die out,” Palmer said.
For Salamone, she said she hopes that the website will only be the beginning. “it’s really just the jumping strike, the jumping off point because I felt that it would probably be the easiest way to start it. There are free website creators, which is what I’m using. And then after we get enough people who have heard about it, we’re hoping to kind of transfer it to more, real life type things, organize events, things like that,” Salamone said.
Huq said that one thing she would like to happen is an organized event where people can share art, spoken word poetry, or other forms of expression.
Huq also said that while she hopes the website will grow, she said that the goal isn’t to get people on the website, that the goal is to get people to ‘Talk About It”.
“Even if people don’t read our website, or don’t read our blogs, it’ll encourage them to educate themselves in order to open up their minds,” Huq said. “I feel like we all know someone that is suffering through depression – that has tried to commit suicide. I feel like at this point, it’s kind of sad, because there’s so many people in our community, just within like the summit alone, that go through these things.”
“We need to remember that like, no matter what, like suicide and depression, these are things that we have to take really seriously,” Huq said. “Educating ourselves and talking about is one of the best and easiest approach for like us teenagers, to really like prevent things like this.”