Klein Hosts Second Annual Mental Health Fair

Caylin Mounce, Staff Writer

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The Mental Health Awareness Fair was held on November 9 and consisted of five booths, two stress relieving stations, specially trained therapeutic dogs, and multiple talks about various mental health problems presented by experts on the topic. The Mental Health Awareness Fair was first developed by former seniors, Elle Cross, Nazneen, and Zaynab Noormohamed in 2018. Junior Avian Munoz, senior Hammad Kahlon, and junior Zayd Noormohamed decided to continue the fair, organizing and planning the entire thing with their reasoning behind being what made it all possible.

“Mental health is something that affects all of us,” Munoz said. “The world has changed so much in ways that compound how much falls on us as young people about to inherit it.”

The organization took a lot of effort and determination on their part, but they knew the impact they could make possible and pushed through.

“Making it happen took a lot of communication between not only our team, but also school administration, district officials, professional speakers for the event and representatives from non-profits that spread messages we believe in,” Munoz said.

Each of the group members had their own personal reasons and inspirations for continuing the tradition.

“For me personally, being able to dedicate a full day to focusing on mental health is really special and something that shouldn’t be taken for granted,” Munoz said. “I was and am raised in a very strict household where discipline comes before comfort. By no means would I change my upbringing because it grew me into who I am today, but now as a teenager, being able to branch out and focus on issues that were seen as non-existent growing up means a lot.”

Munoz wasn’t the only one with reasons for this focus, Zayd Noormohamed also had a lot riding on the fair.

“My personal motivation for doing the Mental Health Awareness Fair was because I personally have dealt with anxiety and depression,” Zayd said. “I know how it feels to have the weight of the world on your shoulders, and I wanted to impact the community in a way where I could lift that weight off other’s shoulders. It means a lot to me that I can positively impact people and make such a strong impression on their lives.”

Zayd’s personal reasons for continuing the fair were also inspired by his sister.

“My main inspiration was my sister, Zaynab Noormohamed. She did the very first Mental Health Awareness Fair last year, and I really wanted to follow in her footsteps.” Zayd said. “Through my last few years at Klein High School, she has been a huge role model to me, and I wanted to help people as much as she has, because honestly, when you can help someone, you help everyone.”

The fair’s slogan was #BreakTheStigma meaning to stop the supposed social unacceptability against mental health issues and bring the issues into the spotlight.

 

“We created a safe space where anyone could come and be embraced for all of our flaws that make each and every single one of us special,” Munoz said. “It’s important to be able to take care of yourself and have a place where every part of you feels like they belong.”

 

Mental health recognition, resources, and accessibility were the focus of the fair and the organizers weren’t the only ones with inspiration, volunteers like sophomore Kristofer Garcia were a part of it for similar reasons.

 

“I just thought like this could be really helpful to some people and it could really touch some lives and maybe even save some,” Garcia said. “So, I thought this is something I really want to be a part of.”

Munoz was also a factor in the recruitment of volunteers.

“I volunteered because I am friends with Avian and he’s actually the one who started this and he was just very adamant and the way he spoke about it, it was actually really inspiring.” Garcia said.

The organizers and volunteers had a lot of reasoning and effort that went into the fair; however, they weren’t the only ones benefitting. Sophomore HOSA member, Caren Huynh said she enjoyed the fair as an attendee.

“[The fair was] very fun and inspirational. The talks were very inspirational,” Huynh said.

The mental health awareness fair’s main focus was with recognizing mental health issues in yourself and those around you with many attendees successfully learning more about the issues themselves.

“I just wanted to know more about mental health because I have siblings with mental health issues.” Young said. “It helped me in some ways, I learned more about how to help each other and how many people are involved with mental health issues.”