PHOENIX — May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Too often, people struggle in silence for a variety of reasons, that’s why Mountain Pointe High School is taking a new approach with a visual display.
Eskesha Clark, a Care 7 Youth Specialist at the school, modeled the project on the “Clothesline Project” which is a visual display of violence and statistics that often get ignored.
“If we could do it for that, why not do it for emotional pain, I'm meeting with these students, they're all struggling with just a variety of things,” said Eskesha.
She opened her office and set up tables during lunch, where students could grab a t-shirt and write a message or design to express themselves and their situation. Each t-shirt represents a different struggle.
White = Mental abuse/Physical abuse
Black = Depression
Gray = Anxiety
Pink/Purple = Bullying of any kind
Yellow/Orange = Discriminated against for race/class/religion/disability/gender
Green = Drugs
Eskesha says, the shirts are a way for teens, who may often feel voiceless, to express themselves and know they’re not alone. The only caveat, students cannot take the shirts with them. Instead, they are displayed throughout the school for others to see.
“Because you have a voice... you never know who you may, you know, impact and encourage them to speak out. Once there was one kid at the table, before you knew it, there were so many kids at the table,” Eskesha explains.
She hopes other schools will consider picking up the project, but adds, this is something families and individuals can do on their own to express themselves and begin a conversation.
Eskesha says, “we all have a voice and we need to be heard.”