EDGEWOOD, Ky. — Saturday, March 2 is World Teen Mental Wellness Day, but on Friday dozens of high schools in northern Kentucky and Cincinnati took time to allow students to connect with each other and share their feelings. 

What You Need To Know

  • World Teen  Wellness Day is March 2, 2024

  • It raises awareness about the mental health disorders faced by teenagers and the stigma associated with it

  • Fifty-three Greater Cincinnati high schools to hosted activities for their students

  • Dixie Heights High School students in the Hope Squad club spent days packaging wellness kits for the student body

Bridgette Breanne is a junior at Dixie Heights High School. She’s a student leader in a popular club called “Hope Squad,” a group of students who help other students talk out their feelings and issues. The club unveiled gifts for all the students.

Breanne proudly listed items in the kit including motivational stickers, squishy toys, prickly balls and a finger ring that applies pressure, allowing students to calm their nerves. 

According to the CDC, in 2021, over 4 in 10 (42%) students felt persistently sad or hopeless. Breanne and four-year guidance counselor Nicole Hoffman said in order to make children feel safe, we have to let them know their feelings are valid and normal.

Hoffman said, “I think you know, the things that kids go through these days, social media, the stressors, they have, all of that. We have really seen an uptick in the need for mental health services in school. And I think that uptick shows that there is a need for this." Breanne added, "Mental health is definitely one thing that we need to focus in school, because not everybody has somebody to talk to outside of school.”

Breanne says she’ll continue taking part in the Hope Squade because she wants everyone to know they are never alone.

She said, "We need to keep checking on people because it makes them feel way better to come to school because they realize that they have people here that they can talk to."

According to the Mental Health Foundation, 20% of adolescents may experience mental health problems in any year, which is why the staff at Dixie Heights say they will continue to advocate for their students and make sure they always feel supported.

All the activities were sponsored by the Joe Burrow FoundationInteract for Health and Bi3 giving all the schools $500 in funding to support the activities. 

Editor's note: A previous version of this story should have named bi3 as a third sponsor of the event. The omission has been corrected. (March 4, 2024)