OPINION

Meine letter: 'We need to start talking about mental wellness'

Submitted by Marcia Meine
Crookston Times

These past couple weeks in the Crookston community have been rough. Tonight I attended the special school board meeting. It was nothing but emotional... so many people, families, teachers, students being affected by a small, but very controversial "mask."

I have my views on the mask, and mandating children to wear. This whole - mask thing - is something I just want to put on a shelf. I am so over it... does it protect us from a virus? Should we mandate our students to wear while at school?

So many people have been faithful in wearing their mask, staying home, etc... but they still contracted this Covid 19.

But while at the school board meeting, I really saw how this tiny little mask has torn our schools and community apart. I sat there with tears in my eyes... listening how broken our community and school has become.

There is no doubt that the mask, and distance learning has affected our children socially as well as mentally.

Mental health has always been a topic that "no one" wants to talk about.

Suicide is also not discussed.

Our community and schools need to wake up and be open about talking about these issues. Covid has affected our youth in many ways... causing depression, anxiety, withdrawal, and yes suicide. Children need human touch, smiles and friends. Over the past year and a half our students are showing more mental health issues which leads to an increase in counselors that are needed. But has our schools in Crookston increased the amount of counselors to assist our youth?

I have heard so many youth tell me that they have no one to talk too at the school. This needs to be addressed.

We need to start talking about mental wellness.

We need to have more assemblies within our school addressing these concerns with the students.

So many parents share these concerns of mental wellness.

We need to come together... be there for Every Student not just a select few. 

Phones need to be shut off... we need to come together and talk... share... laugh and cry together.

I saw that tonight at the School Board Meeting. Families, people from all different ways of life... we came together... we shared.

We need to support our families that don't want their children to wear masks; but also the ones who do wear them, the mask.

I agreed with the parents tonight at the meeting. Hands down, enough is enough. Please let our children be, just that, children.

We can't have families leave our schools just because we are mandating masks! I really feel that we need to reconsider mandating masks. After all... we live in America.

When the School Board was going to vote... you could sense that the Board had made up its mind. Were we, the parents and students, and community leaders even heard? I sometimes wonder.

Are we ever heard?

The mental health issues along with suicide is real! It causes pain, hurt, tears. We need to come together... be open to suggestions... but most of all really listen to the ones who are suffering.

We need to lend a hand, reach out to our students. All students matter within this school district!

Having speakers come in to our schools, our communities is very beneficial. It really starts the process of talking, being a part of the bigger picture.

When will Crookston open their eyes and realize what is happening. Our future teachers, business owners, parents etc. are hurting. We need to help!!

On October 2, Saturday from 2:30-5:30 p.m. there will be a Suicide Awareness Walk, putting up ribbons around town. Making and lighting luminaries in memory of loved ones. It will be held at the Red Barn downtown (Farmers Market Square). There will be supportive people there along with some counselors that we can talk too, too share stories.

There will no judgement placed on no one. A time to come together to remember a classmate... If you need a friend, we will be there for you.

We as a community, as a school district need to "Break the Silence." We need to have open forums, get togethers to discuss this concern.

Suicide is real... there are people who are hurting... that need someone to tell them that "it is OK, to not feel ok." And let the person know you care... give a hug... tell them they are important. Give them your hand, tell them they are not alone. Be there to listen, to hold, to hug the one who is hurting.

Please we need to listen, to be there for everyone. Our community needs to come together... Our schools need to be more open about bringing speakers int our school to talk about suicide... to bring awareness to mental health issues... To take a look at yourself in the mirror... to ask yourself can I help?

Please Crookston, let's come together and "Break the Silence."

Marcia Meine