Students at Paramount Charter Academy had a special visitor from Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (KCMHSAS) drop by on the last day of the 2018-19 school year to raise awareness regarding mental health. The organization’s mascot, Opal the Owl, encouraged the school’s leaders to take their Look Beyond pledge.
KCMHSAS works with youth, families, and adults who struggle with mental illnesses, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and substance use disorders to help them succeed in their lives.
Paramount leaders received a star award after taking the pledge to be stigma-free regarding the issues surrounding mental health. Look Beyond is a campaign that aims to reduce stigma and increase understanding, support, and positive attitudes toward people throughout Kalamazoo County who are living with or are affected by mental illness and developmental disabilities.
The organization is asking everyone who resides in Kalamazoo County to get involved and take the pledge. Various schools, municipalities, service providers, faith communities, public and private organizations, businesses, and all individuals throughout the community are working with Opal to spread the word.
Paramount is the first school KCMHSAS recognized for taking the Look Beyond pledge as a group. Teachers at the school also received training in youth mental health first aid last year from the same organization.
"As a school, we are continuing to bring more education to parents and staff about mental health so that we can better serve our families," said Christine Welc, principal at Paramount Charter Academy.
If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health, visit Integrated Services of Kalamazoo for helpful resources.