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Peer-To-Peer Depression Awareness Campaign: 2015-2016 School Year

Students participating in the Peer-to-Peer Project, 2015

For the 2015-2016 Peer-to-Peer Project, ten teams of approximately 5-20 students each from Community, Huron, Lincoln, Milan, Pathways to Success, Pioneer, Saline, Saline Alternative, Skyline, and Ypsilanti Community High Schools were selected by their teachers and counselors to attend an educational conference at the Depression Center on October 19th, 2015. The students participated in educational presentations to improve their knowledge of depressive illnesses, and learn more about the interactions between mental health, stigma, substance use, academic stress, and coping skills. Also included was information on specific strategies for supporting peers and practical strategies for planning an effective awareness campaign.

Following the opening conference and with assistance from faculty mentors at each school, each team submitted a plan for their Peer-to-Peer project in early December 2015, and then began implementing their campaigns in January–May 2016.

Below are summaries of each school’s activities.


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"Stigma Hurts, Awareness Helps"
Community High School

  • March was Depression Awareness Month
  • Focused their campaign on depression and co-occurring disorders
  • Invited guest speakers who shared their personal experiences with depression, anxiety, and OCD with all students via interactive discussions
  • Bulletin board display with photos of P2P team members
  • Colorful posters with helpful mental health messages posted around the school
  • Handed out pens and stickers with their slogan, Stigma Hurts, Awareness Helps
  • Shared information about mental health disorders and resources via forum bulletins and on social media

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"No One Should be Left in the Dark"
Huron High School

  • Participated in the community Out of the Darkness Walk to raise awareness about suicide during the fall
  • Organized a Depression Awareness Week
    • Created a video news segment about depression which was played during 3rd hour announcements at the beginning of the week
    • Verbal announcements each day of the week which included messages aimed at increasing awareness, decreasing stigma, and increasing knowledge of depression facts and resources
    • P2P team members presented in math and health classes to share information about causes/symptoms of depression, how to help a friend, and raise awareness about school and community resources
    • Handed out 1,500 cell phone screen cleaners with the P2P logo and helpline phone number
  • Posted mental health messages and video on the Huron High School Counseling Facebook and Twitter pages
  • Gave handouts with school and community resources to every student in the school
  • Psychology classes created posters which raised awareness about depression and were placed throughout the school

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"When it's More than Just a Bad Day"
Lincoln High School

  • Created posters with their slogan, When it’s More than Just a Bad Day, and information about the school-based health center which were placed throughout the school
  • Created posters with their slogan, When it’s More than Just a Bad Day, and information about the school-based health center which were placed throughout the school
  • Will Heininger presented during a large school assembly, discussing his personal experience with depression

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"Know Science, No Stigma"
Milan High School

  • Focused their campaign on depression and substance abuse and their impact on the brain
  • Hosted back-to-back panel presentations for the entire student body (Freshmen and Junior/Sophomore and Senior) featuring Dawn Farm residents who spoke about their experiences with co-occurring depression and substance use
  • Created bracelets with “Know Science, No Stigma” and the Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number which were distributed during the panel presentations
  • Art students created numerous posters for display around the building with information on the connection between drugs and depression
  • Team members participated in SafeTalk, a 3-hour suicide-alertness training
  • Distributed bookmarks with information on signs/symptoms of depression, how to help a friend, and resources

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"No One Should be Left in the Dark"
Pathways to Success

  • Created a series of posters which were displayed throughout the school with information about depression as a medical illness, quotes, and resources. A new poster in the series was posted each week
  • Created a short, relatable, flip-a-gram video with facts about depression, quotes, and resources, which played on the screens in the welcome center to be visible by the entire school. Used the song “Flashlight” by Jessie J. to underscore their theme of No One Should be Left in the Dark
  • Distributed flashlight/compass keychains with their slogan
  • Hosted the Corner Health Center on two separate occasions for all-school assemblies on depression awareness. During the first assembly, P2P team members and then the Corner Health Theater Troupe performed sketches, followed by a Q & A session. During the follow-up assembly, the Corner Health Center facilitated additional discussions on depression in a workshop format

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"Depression is Real, Hope is Real;
Speak Out, Don’t Grind It Out"

Pioneer High School

  • P2P team members presented to Pioneer staff and then to several classrooms. Presentations aimed to clearly define depression and anxiety, define the relationship between sleep, substance use, and depression and provide information on available resources.
  • Distributed removable vinyl stickers, which could be placed on cell phones, during classroom presentations and at lunch
    • 250 stickers had the slogan “P2P, Depression is Real, Hope is Real” and 250 had the slogan “Speak Out, Don’t Grind it Out”
  • Had a “referral box” where students could fill out a form if they were concerned about a friend, which was checked by the school counselors for follow-up. Received 5-10 referrals/week
  • Distributed 2,000 bookmarks with information on signs/symptoms of depression, how to help a friend, and school-specific resources (distributed to every student and teacher)
  • Created a bulletin board with P2P team photos, and posters with information on depression, sleep, and substance use
  • P2P team members wore shirts twice a month to raise awareness of the group and interest continues to grow. Received 50 applications for the group this past year
  • Participated in Forsythe Parent night to share information about depression and about P2P with parents of middle school students

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"Stigma Hurts, Awareness Helps"
Saline High School

  • Presentation to all juniors featuring a speaker who discussed her personal and family experiences with depression and eating disorders
  • Will Heininger presented to all senior students, facilitating a discussion about his experience with depression in college
  • Distributed 450 bracelets with the slogan, Stigma Hurts, Awareness Helps
  • Created an awareness video, in collaboration with the video production class, which was played for all students during announcements and during lunchtime
  • Distributed 1,900 bookmarks with information on signs/symptoms of depression, how to help a friend, and resources via 1st hour teachers
  • Displayed posters throughout the school with messages about depression as a medical illness, why we should talk about depression, and depression and LGBTQ students

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"Stigma Hurts, Awareness Helps"
Saline Alternative High School

  • Worked with Saline Alternative High School to create their campaign
  • Hosted two all-school presentations featuring speakers who shared their personal experiences with depression and eating disorders
  • Distributed bracelets with the slogan, Stigma Hurts, Awareness Helps
  • Distributed bookmarks with information on signs/symptoms of depression, how to help a friend, and resources
  • Displayed posters throughout the school with messages about depression as a medical illness, why we should talk about depression, and depression and LGBTQ students

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"It’s Ok to Not be Ok - Reach Out!”"
Skyline High School

  • Handed out 800 bracelets with the slogan, It’s Ok to Not be Ok- Reach Out!
  • Shared information about depression and available resources during lunchtime
  • Distributed magnets with the slogan Depression, A Fight No One Can Handle Alone

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"Listen Up, Lighten Up”"
Ypsilanti High School

  • Distributed 500 bracelets with the slogan, Listen Up, Lighten Up, and the Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number
  • Created a bulletin board and posters with information about depression and available resources
  • Handed out fortune cookies with messages about depression and resources
  • Will Heininger presented during a large school assembly, discussing his personal experience with depression. Following the presentation, staff at the school reported an increase in the number of students seeking support at their school-based health clinic