Stand Together: OC’s New Mental Health Awareness Club

Stand Together: OCs New Mental Health Awareness Club

Rylee Stager '20, Staff Writer


Allegheny County’s Office of Behavioral Health has teamed up with middle and high schools across the Pittsburgh area to promote Stand Together, a club that aims to increase education and awareness towards peers and adults with mental illness and/or substance use disorders. The formation of Stand Together marks the first mental health club to be offered at Oakland Catholic backed by an official organization. Moderated by Mrs. Checketts and Mr. MacDonald, the members create projects to present around the school to help eliminate stigmatizing language and to spread awareness about mental health.

What is Stigma?

Stigma is defined as, “a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.” For example, stigma associates a person to a certain group or specific term such as: “psycho,” “lunatic,” or “addict.” Stand Together aims to remove these negative words from our everyday life as they are hurtful to people suffering from a mental disorder, and should never be used to define a person.

Our ultimate goal is to promote inclusion of individuals who have a mental illness and/or substance use disorder. We want every member of this school who suffers from mental health disorders to know that they are not alone, and they do not have to hide their condition. Additionally, we want to encourage speaking with an adult when you become concerned about a peer who is depressed, suicidal, or exhibiting other signs or symptoms of a mental illness or substance use disorder. You can talk to any of the teachers here at OC if you feel you need guidance or help for yourself or a friend. We understand that this is a very sensitive topic for all people. We ultimately want people to know that it is okay to not be okay, and that they can talk about their emotions in an environment full of trust and understanding.


We hope this article explains more about our club and grabs your interest to join us next year so we can all “stand together” against stigma!