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The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of MAST Academy, since 1991.
The Student News Site of MAST Academy

The Beacon

The Beacon

Senior Issue 2024
June 5, 2024

National Awareness Holidays Offer an Opportunity to Act

What have you done this month for Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Awareness?
Via National Suicide Prevention Month

Whether it be National Cancer Prevention Month in February or National ADHD Awareness Month in October, we are reminded by flyers, campaigns, 5K charities, and school events to become a part of the awareness. The prevention. 

With all these opportunities available, it is easy to participate and not fully understand what your contribution really means. This is why it is important to learn about what National Awareness Holidays are really about and what contributions really mean the most. 

National Awareness Holidays, recognized by the President of the United States, can last a day, a week, or up to a whole month and raise awareness about important health topics.

 In 2008, September was officially declared Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Awareness Month. Other than raising a general awareness for mental health and suicide in society, a big aspect of the National Holiday brings attention to teenagers facing mental health issues.

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With suicide rates among teenagers increasing by 48% from 2011 to 2021, according to KFF,  bringing attention to teenagers and their mental needs has become a top priority for organizations like The Trevor Project and The Youth Mental Health Project. Just like 2023’s September Awareness slogan, “Creating Hope Through Action”, these groups believe action and commitment are the best ways to make an impactful change. From protests to virtual Zoom meetings, these organizations work to achieve their #1 goal: to remove the stigma around mental health and provide resources in order to make it surmountable for youth. 

This action, action that makes a difference (unlike putting an awareness sticker on your shirt), is not only possible through these organizations. Smaller foundations led by dedicated individuals also make an impact. 

Members of MAST’s Cross Country team at the Kennedy Kids Inaugural 5K for suicide awareness. Courtesy of Mercedes Halliburton.

On Sunday, September 17th, members of MAST’s Cross Country team made a donation of $50 each and ran a 5K for Kennedy Kids Foundation. 

“It was in support of mental health and suicide prevention for teenagers, especially in high school, because the [founder’s] daughter committed suicide last year,” senior Mia Corbo said. 

This foundation uses fundraising, crowdfunding, and scholarships to advance its mission of preventing youth suicide. With such a big goal, can participating in a 5K make a difference? 

“When you’re running, you’re suffering, and when you complete it, it gives power to those who are also suffering to power through their illness,” junior Hugo Alvarez said. 

With so many awareness and prevention holidays throughout the year, participating in all of them will be extremely difficult. But do not worry. Pick the ones you care most about and act. October, Down Syndrome and Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a few days away. All you have to do is act!

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About the Contributor
Mercedes Halliburton
Mercedes Halliburton, Managing Editor
Mercedes Halliburton is a senior at MAST Academy. She is in her fourth year at the school, arriving in 2019 from St. Theresa Catholic School. Halliburton enjoys MAST more than her previous school because she believes that there is more freedom. Halliburton likes MAST because she enjoys swimming and water. She also enjoys reading and writing, saying that it is her favorite subject. Her least favorite subject is math, and her hardest year was junior year. She doesn’t have a least favorite teacher and she likes most of the teachers. She also likes MAST because it has a nice view and is so close to the beach. Even though MAST is fun, Halliburton claims it is also a challenging school with many hard classes.
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