NAMI Washtenaw Goes to Middle School for Mental Health Event


Students attending a Mental Health Matters event at Mill Creek Middle School.

NAMI Washtenaw County took part in a daylong Mental Health Matters event on Feb. 7 at Mill Creek Middle School in Dexter. Volunteer Bob Nassauer described the day as “well organized and powerful.”

The Corner Health Center kicked off the event to the whole school. The presentation included a TED Talk by comedian Kevin Breel: Confessions of a Depressed Comic.

Nassauer led two morning workshops, having prepared for the sessions by tailoring NAMI’s “public” program for middle schoolers and calling it “Mental Health 101.” As part of the workshop students played a game resembling “Family Feud.” Nassauer divided them into teams, and team representatives competed with one another to see who could ring a bell first and give the correct answer to a mental health question.

“At the end of the game,” Nassauer said, describing the process in an email, “I give the winning team their prize (a little box of raisins), pause, and then give everyone the same prize for playing the game. It worked really well at the school. It creates a state of relaxed attention and I think people learn pretty well when they are having fun.”

Also included in the workshop were small group discussions on mental health questions at the end of the PowerPoint lesson. Both sessions went very well, Nassauer said.

Mark Delaney, also a NAMI Washtenaw volunteer, presented four workshops on behalf of Psychiatric Emergency Services on what to do in a mental health crisis, putting in a lot of good plugs for NAMI, Nassauer said.

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