Students Urged to Participate in Mental Health Awareness Contest

By Grace O'Neill, Staff Writer

With the month of May marking Mental Health Awareness month, Empower Somerset is hosting a contest to promote awareness with a possible grand prize of $400. High School students in New Jersey may submit a video, written piece, or digital poster for a chance to win. The deadline is May 31, so get your submissions in!

The contest is being held in conjunction with other organizations throughout the state including The Center for Prevention and Counseling, NJ Health, 2ndFloor and AtlantiCare Healthy Schools. 

The slogan, “Quaren-teen-ed: apart but not alone” is to show teens that during this time of social distancing, it is important to remember that although physically we may be isolated, we still support each other from afar. The contest is hoping students will be able to express their creativity as well as promote awareness.

“Now more than ever it is so important that everyone does what they can to stay connected while socially distancing,” says, Student Assistance Coordinator, Donna King.

The goal of the contest is to bring awareness to mental health and those who may be struggling, especially during these stressful times. Students interested in participating should create a Public Service Announcement (PSA) that will convey what it feels like to be a Teen in NJ during this time of social distancing.

There are three different platforms students may choose to enter: Digital poster: size 11inch by 11inch (1080 X 1080 pixels) as jpg files, a written piece: a poem/ short essay (300 words max)/ lyrics as pdf files, or a video: 30 to 60 seconds as mp4 files. The prizes include $400 to one overall state winner, $200 to one regional winner, $150 to one overall state runner up, and $100 to one regional runner up.

Winners will be chosen by regional community leaders & celebrity judge, Joetta Clark Diggs, Four-Time Olympian, and Author. The deadline for submissions is Sunday, May 31, 2020, by 10 PM. The winners will be announced on June 8, 2020.

“Our mental health is too important to ignore. There is no shame in acknowledging when we are struggling and it is absolutely ok to ask for help. So many people suffer from a variety of mental health issues, and it can be a very isolating feeling but you are not alone. Help is out there and you deserve to get that help,” says King.

It’s important to be patient with people struggling through mental illnesses and it is especially important to remind them that they are not alone. Social distancing is what is best for the physical safety of our community. But those who are struggling mentally may feel that they are stuck at home with just their thoughts and no distractions like school or friends. Stay strong, for yourself and others, we may be apart but we are not alone.