Triton High School hosts first student mental health fair

Published: May. 3, 2022 at 7:04 PM CDT
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DODGE CENTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Triton High School in Dodge Center is doing more to highlight mental health awareness during the month of May by hosting a first of its kind mental health fair for students.

The school hopes the resources provided Tuesday will benefit its teens as they interact with and learn more about mental health, services provided, coping skills and destressing.

Students visiting various booths
Students visiting various booths(KTTC)

“We want to do more to increase awareness of the resources available to the students and also decrease stigma,” Triton High School Counselor Christi Runnels said.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic mental health needs have increased, and Triton High School took notice.

“Mental health is often equated to mental illness and those two things aren’t the same,” Runnels said. “This is a good event for students to realize, I need to maintain optimal mental health just like physical health.”

There were 23 different local organizations for students to check out during Tuesday’s student mental health fair.

NAMI is here, we have AFSP here, there are different agencies that provide therapy here, grief counseling,” Runnels said. “A broad array of anything related to mental health, there’s even a yoga booth.”

Runnels says Dodge County already does a mental health fair to provide resources to parents with young children, but she wanted to provide those same types of resources to teens in high school.

“I think it’s really cool,” Triton High School Junior Jude Gosse said. “It’s nice to see all the opportunities and organizations that are within our community and the surrounding communities as well.”

Student visiting a booth
Student visiting a booth(KTTC)

“I think it’s great that we’re having this fair today because it’s a lot of opportunities to a lot of students here and it’s just great to have this,” Triton High School Senior Kimberly Valdez-Miranda said. “I feel like we should have this more than once a year.”

Runnels said students were nervous at first but ultimately enjoyed the event and learning about the available resources.

“Finding help in our community is very accessible and there’s a lot of people that are willing to help and willing to go lengths to make that known,” Gosse said. “And that’s demonstrated here today.”

Runnels hopes to be able to have a student mental health fair like this again in the future.

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