“It’s okay to say ‘I’m stressed'”

BC2M seeks to create an environment to educate about mental health at BVH

Bring+Change+2+Mind%27s+%28BC2M%29+first+post+was+made+to+advertise+the+clubs+opening.+Their+first+post+was+made+on+Nov.+25%2C+after+the+clubs+official+registration+with+ASB.

Melina Ramirez

Bring Change 2 Mind’s (BC2M) first post was made to advertise the clubs opening. Their first post was made on Nov. 25, after the clubs official registration with ASB.

Melina Ramirez, Arts & Culture Editor

With the first semester for the 2020-2021 school year at a close, a club emerges from the stress of distance learning and calls out to recruit new members. Bring Change to Mind (BC2M) is a newly established club at Bonita Vista High (BVH) aiming to educate students on mental illness, spread awareness and provide various coping mechanisms to its members. 

BC2M was brought to light by President and junior Mia Gonzalez, Secretary and junior Isabella Garcia and Vice President and junior Nicole Estolano in their sophomore year but did not come into fruition until the beginning of the current school year. However, as pointed out by Estolano and Garcia, the mastermind behind the idea of the club with continuous support was Gonzalez.

“[The officers and I] decided to [start] the club because we wanted to help other people realize the importance of mental health and feel like they can have some sort of resource where they can learn about mental health without feeling like they have to open up themselves,” Garcia said.

When beginning the club, the officers found BC2M, a student-led club initiative created in 2010 with its sole purpose being to explore the topic of mental health in safe and supportive environments. Gonzalez has seen how mental health is perceived at BVH and expresses her hopes to rid of the stigma that surrounds it through this club.

At the moment the club only has seven members in total, three being members and four officers. The club at BVH is a branch off from the official BC2M’s high school program; each member has an account within the organization where they receive a monthly newsletter with resources for mental health. Additionally, there is an app called Headspace that grants the members the ability to access its premium settings which they utilize for meditation.

When it came to dealing with the technicalities behind kickstarting BC2M, the club that was supposed to start at the beginning of the year–like the rest–resulted in only recently getting approved near the end of November. The issues that came with signing digital forms delayed the clubs official opening, but now the club is looking to expand by recruiting more members to begin their activities in this new semester. 

As the pandemic continues and has altered the structure of school for BVH students, many have faced various mental health issues due to the lack of physical interaction. Although the officers intentions were not to create BC2M during a pandemic, Gonzalez believes it makes the club all the more important for students who “feel like their life is spiraling out of control.”

“I think that even though people might not know what everyone is dealing with, if everyone just knew that it’s okay to talk to each other about how you’re feeling [and that] it’s okay to say ‘I’m stressed’ and ‘I don’t know what to do’ [dealing with mental health would be improved],” Gonzalez said. 

The ultimate purpose of BC2M is to educate members about mental health and teach them coping mechanisms to aid in overcoming personal struggles. The officers have emphasized a want to normalize conversing about mental health and illness and create a comfortable environment to talk about one’s feelings if wanted. Estolano describes wanting to teach the members empathy towards others who decide to open up about their struggles. 

“At Bonita, we have [other] support [systems] but people sometimes don’t feel comfortable talking to others about their emotions, and though for some people that really does help, [for] others it can make it worse,” Gonzalez said. 

A concern Garcia held in beginning the club was that she did not want the officers or other members of BC2M to act as therapists. The purpose of the club is not to give counseling, but rather provide a resource for various mental illnesses by learning how to deal with emotions in the healthiest way possible, according to Gonzalez. 

“I went through some things during my freshman year where I did not know how to control or monitor my feelings,” Gonzalez said. 

Everything was in chaos and I think that at the time, if I was given the resources and the opportunities to learn how to manage things safely and know that it’s okay to talk to my friends about it, things for me would have changed.”

— President and junior Mia Gonzalez

Gonzalez hopes for conversations in the club to be comfortable and tension free when addressing mental health and well-being. In addition, she wants to be able to work on mass projects within the club such as where a positive note can be passed along throughout the school day, however, that plan would be for when students return to campus. 

“One of the main things I want [is for the club to] go beyond just senior year for me [and] that it’ll continue after the other officers and I have left. I also want it to be able to help other people outside of the people that I know, I want it to bring in people that I don’t know,” Garcia said.