Student Ambassadors Create Mental Wellness Web site to Cope with Staying at Home
There is no question that 2020 brought a variety of obstacles that the 4-H/Middle Earth Student Ambassadors for Community Health had to overcome regarding the work they had planned to improve health and well-being for everyone. Prior to the initial stay-at-home orders, the Student Ambassadors intended to develop a project focused on promoting better mental wellness for teens.
Early in 2020, the Student Ambassadors hosted a panel of mental health experts to gain knowledge and resources to inform their work. The community representatives who joined them include the Superintendent of the Bound Brook School District, Safe + Sound Somerset and the Somerset County Department of Human Services Mental Health Administrator. In addition, therapists from local private practices participated and guided the students as they determined the next phase of their work.
Once the spread of COVID-19 reached New Jersey and shelter-at-home orders went into effect, the students needed to adjust their plans for the year. Undaunted, the Student Ambassadors rose to the challenge, adapting their work and building a web site with the intent of providing mental health resources and sharing information about their previous and ongoing projects of the Next Generation Community Leaders program.
The web site became a core component of their summer project, although it was not the only one. The Ambassadors made sure to focus on other areas of need, creating a Free Food Pantry, and writing a new story in both English and Spanish for the Mariposa Park storybook trail – established during their first year of work.
The web site is organized into two main parts: “Who We Are” and “Mental Health & Wellness.” The youth have used the site to discuss topics such as breaking the stigma surrounding mental health within different communities. It also provides a multitude of mental health resources in both English and Spanish for visitors to explore. There are sections dedicated to coping in quarantine, ideas to help youth adjust and resources for parents.
The students had the opportunity to meet with web site and marketing professionals for their guidance when designing the site. These adults provided tips to create an accessible and welcoming web site for public use.
Please visit www.studentambassadorsnj.org to check out the Student Ambassadors’ work and take advantage of these curated mental health resources.