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West Orange Schools Participate in Green Ribbon Week

 WEST ORANGE, NJ – West Orange High School and Roosevelt Middle School took a stand to promote positive mental health for youth during Green Ribbon Week, held Sept. 17-21.


In partnership with the GrassROOTS Community Foundation, and using #GreenRibbonWeek for social media, schools worked to have students join the conversation regarding mental health, suicide, and getting help.


Student assistance counselors Amadeo Chirichiello and Jacklyn Headlam (WOHS) and Senior Advisor Catherine Connors worked with students from the Health Careers Club and Student Council. WOHS freshmen Marley Dias and Amina Anekwe represented the Grassroots Community Foundation. GCF also partnered with schools in Newark and at Roosevelt Middle School in West Orange.


The West Orange Human Relations Commission was on hand to provide suicide prevention information for the LGBTQ community.


Disturbing statistics merit the campaign:


  • One in five teenagers will experience depression before they reach adulthood.


  • About eight per cent of teens ages 13 to 18 have an anxiety disorder, with symptoms starting around age 6.


  • Over 500,000 kids each year report to the hospital because of self-harm injury.


  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth ages 10-24.


  • High school can be a challenging time for our youth. 3,000+ suicide attempts are made each day by children in grades 9 through 12.”


During the week, emphasis was made on removing the stigma associated with mental health and its challenges. Students were encouraged to listen to one another and offer a smile, a kind word, or a simple act of caring to support struggling peers. A wall filled with post-its outside the Tarnoff Cafeteria answered the question “What do you do when you’re stressed out?” Even the simplest things, like focusing, taking deep breaths, or a quick walk can help de-stress.


“It’s important to provide a proactive, rather than reactive, conversation,” stated Dias.


“Youth are often left out of the conversation when it comes to mental health,” agreed Anekwe.


“Stress is inevitable, but people always assume we’re okay,” said Student Council VP Selam Woldai. “Mental health is just as important as physical health.”


See more photos from Green Ribbon Week at WOHS and RMS here. (RMS photos courtesy of


Green Ribbon Week

Green Ribbon Week at WOHS.

 Green Ribbon Week

 Green Ribbon Week at RMS.

Cynthia Cumming
Sept. 25, 2018