Students in Briarcliff are taking a pro-active stance on mental health and the affliction of depression:
Briarcliff middle school and high school students recently participated in a growing phenomenon to support their peers who are battling depression. In observance of “P.S. I Love You Day,” students donned purple and left positive messages on every sixth-grader’s locker at the middle school. Briarcliff High school students Nicole Metzger, Max Kesten and Grace Shaw led a series of assemblies to educate the middle school students about the event, which originated from a YouTube video created by a Long Island teen whose father committed suicide.
Brooke DiPalma, 15 at the time, created the video to support those struggling with depression. She also led the effort to recognize Feb. 10 as “P.S. I Love You Day” around New York State, encouraging students to write notes of encouragement and caring for one another.
Since Feb. 10 fell on a Sunday this year, Briarcliff Middle School sixth-graders Sarah Raphael and Sophie Jelinek (pictured) volunteered to stay after school on Thursday, Feb. 7. With support from guidance counselor Kay Brancato, the girls came up with the idea to leave anonymous Post-it Notes on lockers to ensure every student and teacher in the sixth-grade wing started their Friday with a positive message. Post-It Note stations were also set up around the school for anyone to write a nice message to a classmate, teacher or both.
“It created a real sense of warmth among the students and left such a great vibe in the building,” said middle school principal Susan Howard of the effort.
Briarcliff High School students and staff also wore purple on Friday to recognize the day and show their love for one another.
Sarah Raphael and Sophie Jelinek (pictured)