Lawrence North students plan mental health walk


At Lawrence North High School, a student-led club that works to end the stigma surrounding mental illness is planning a special event in late April.

Emma Daberko is a senior at Lawrence North and is president of the Bring Change to Mind school club. She said the group’s Light the Night event will include a mental health awareness walk, therapy dogs, games, giveaways, concession booths and resources. It’s set for 7-10 p.m. April 27 at the Lawrence North football field.

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A poster for the Light the Night event. (Image courtesy of Emma Daberko)

Daberko said Bring Change to Mind is a national organization that focuses on ending the stigma around mental health and educating the public about mental illness. High school clubs connected to that national organization help start conversations at the teenage level.

The Light the Night event will be for everyone, though — not just teens.

I wanted to organize this event because I wanted something different. I, along with my other leadership team members, wanted to connect with the community on a wider scale,” she said. “We have focused a lot on our student body specifically, which is the first step to ending the stigma around mental health, but we figured it was about time we connect local families and others as well.”

There is an entry fee of $1 to attend the event, and that goes toward the Bring Change to Mind school club. Daberko said there will be opportunities to donate to other organizations that serve people with mental illness, such as those that focus on LGBTQ+ and Black community members.

We hope the outcome is, of course, a fun community outing that people will remember,” she said. “We want families and community members to leave feeling inspired. We want all attendees to feel more comfortable in their skin and feel as though they’ve honored their friends and family that have a mental illness or have passed away by suicide, and we especially want all attendees to educate themselves while they’re there.”