“Chalk Out” for Mental Health


Brendan Conniff

In recognition of World Mental Health Day, which took place on October 10, 2019, many schools are working to raise awareness about the growing mental health problems facing youth today. Manhasset’s CASA and SET Connect Clubs did their part to raise awareness on October 24th, by sponsoring a school wide “Chalk Out.” Students gathered at 7:00 a.m. with chalk in hand, ready to decorate the sidewalks leading to the school with inspirational messages and images. 

According to the high school advisor of the SET Connect Club, Melissa Slobin, the “Chalk Out” initiative aims to end mental health stigma by promoting mental health and normalizing the day to day struggles that many of us face.  She explained, “These words of encouragement are meant to provide an understanding to all students of the importance of seeking mental health assistance.” The middle school SET Connect Club advisor, Robyn Hoffmann, elaborated by saying that she hopes the students entering school, “will see these positive messages and know that they are not alone in their struggles and that school is a safe, welcoming place for them.” 

The middle school SET Connect Club president, Carys Hyland, and the high school president, Sydney Ginsburg, as well as all of the members, were instrumental in coordinating this event. When asked why this event is important, Sydney Ginsburg noted, “Sometimes it is the little things that can really go a long way. Just seeing some positive, colorful words can really brighten up someone’s morning.”  Her hope is that kind acts will be reciprocated. “I hope that people who walk past the chalk out will be inspired to bring kindness and positivity into their day and share this spirit with someone else.” With messages like “Stop The Stigma,” “You Got This,” “People Care About You,” and “You Are Not Alone,” the event was nothing short of success. 

The SET Connect Clubs at the middle and high school levels are currently working on putting together more events similar to the “Chalk Out,” which are aimed at creating positive activities that benefit the overall well being of  students.  Look out for upcoming club sponsored mediation sessions and events centered around gratitude for Thanksgiving. 

Manhasset CASA (Community Coalition Against Substance Abuse) sponsors the SET Connect Clubs (formerly known as the Healthy Living Clubs). CASA serves as a community resource to reduce the illegal and underage use of alcohol, tobacco, and prescription and other drugs in the community, by connecting with parents, youth, and the school as partners in this common goal.