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Green Ribbon Week in West Orange Schools Raises Mental Health Awareness

WEST ORANGE, NJ –In conjunction with GrassROOTS Community Foundation, West Orange Schools observed Green Ribbon Week, held Sept. 20-24.

Green Ribbon Week offers preventative strategies for youth mental health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ADHD, behavior problems, anxiety, and depression are the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders in children.

4% of children aged 2-17 years (approximately 6.1 million) have received an ADHD diagnosis.

4% of children aged 3-17 years (approximately 4.5 million) have a diagnosed behavior problem.

1% of children aged 3-17 years (approximately 4.4 million) have diagnosed anxiety.

2% of children aged 3-17 years (approximately 1.9 million) have diagnosed depression.

GrassROOTS Community Foundation provides additional statistics on children and mental health.

  • Depression
    • 1 in 5 teens experience depression before they reach adulthood (Psych Central, 2016).
    • About 8% of teens ages 13 to 18 have an anxiety disorder, with symptoms starting around age 6 (S.A.M.H.S.A., 2017).
  • Suicide
    • Over 500,000 kids each year report to the hospital because of self-harm injury (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016).
    • Suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth ages 10-24 (Centers for Disease Control, 2015).
    • 3,000+ suicide attempts are made each day by children in grades 9 through 12 (Anxiety and Depression Association of American, 2018).
  • Impact on Educational Outcomes
    • 1 in 3 students with mental health needs continues onto post-secondary education (National Center for Mental Health Checkups, 2015).
    • Kids who have high depression scores don’t do well in school; they have high rates of suspension, don’t do well on homework and cannot concentrate (National Center for Mental Health Checkups, 2015).
    • People with social anxiety are twice as likely to not finish high school (National Center for Mental Health Checkups, 2015).

The goals of Green Ribbon Week are to educate youth about the ways to maintain good mental health, encourage adults to engage in practices that facilitate dialogue with youth, and make conversations about mental health as common as conversations about physical health. 

Throughout the week, students and staff participated in activities geared to raise awareness about mental health issues, dispel the stigmas, and create a compassionate environment of support for those experiencing mental illness. The activities were age-appropriate for elementary, middle, and high school students and provided useful ways to help themselves and each other. Activities included: 

Wear green and tell people why

Learn Meditation techniques

Post about Green Ribbon Week and Mental Health Awareness on Social Media

Practice Active Listening

Remind people you care about them

Find ways to get help 

Take the Pledge:


I take the pledge to LISTEN to the young people in my life for at least 1 minute each day and I will not interrupt. 

I am committed to making sure that I LISTEN TO LEARN and LEARN TO LISTEN. 


I take the pledge to BREATHE. 

For me, I know that everything is going to be OK as long as I can BREATHE. 

I am committed each day to spend at least one minute to inhale good and positive thoughts and exhale all my stress. 

The West Orange School District and GrassROOTS recommend the following resources regarding youth mental health. 


GRW Videos

WOHS Ms.  DeMarco Guided Meditation

WOHS Staff and Student Video

5-minute mindful breathing

What is Mindfulness

5-minute Anxiety Reducing Meditation

How to defeat negative thinking

Visual Coral Reef Relaxation

Visual Nature Relaxation

Visual Sensory Relaxation

Each Mind Matters Clip

If You Want To Go Quote Clip

You Make My Life Better Quote Clip 


Al Final del Dia Podemos Video 1

Todos Tenemos Infographic 1

Estare a tu lado Quote Clip 

Mind Games:

Online Games

Online Jigsaw Puzzle 


Hip Hop Dance Video

Yoga for Teens 

Smartphone Apps:



Journal for Mindfulness

Personal Zen 


National Alliance of Mental Health NJ (NAMI)

Mental Support Guide-Spanish

NAMI NJSpanish

NAMI NJ African American Community

NAMI NJ South Asian

NAMI NJ Chinese





Cynthia Cumming
Sept. 23, 2021