Wake Forest High School DECA Chapter Gets Serious About Mental Illness

Thanks to Caroline Roach for sending in the following story.

Wake Forest High School’s DECA chapter is proud to announce that it has initiated a grassroots campaign, “Stand Against the Stigma” (SAS). The goal of the campaign is to generate a more supportive and understanding community by redefining mental illness, educating the population of the school and surrounding area, and dispelling negative and false beliefs about mental illness and its treatment.


To accomplish this goal, founders, Caroline Roach and Jake Petrillo, have hosted a variety of events to engage the school and community in their cause. Events include performances by guest speakers, information booths at football games, and an Anti-Stigma week. Furthermore, the campaign has created a SAS club to make a lasting impression now and for years to come.

Guest speaker, Dave Binanay from Music Over Mind, an organization dedicated to healing mental illness through the power of music, came to Wake Forest High School on Thursday, Dec 8th to speak to classes. Here, he played violin as well as gave an account of his experience with mental illness and how stigma surrounding it affected him. This was the first major event of many that have been planned.

Next, a billboard painted by members of the Stand Against Stigma Club will be placed on Stadium Drive with some statistics on mental illness stigma. Be on the look out!

The objectives of the campaign are to:

  • Raise awareness of mental illness within Wake Forest High School
  • Inspire students to reconsider their perception of mental illness
  • Encourage parents to engage in dialogue that can help support the mental well being of their children
  • Educate teachers on how to identify the signs of mental health issues and how to be an outlet for struggling students
  • Empower those who suffer by making mental illness a more comfortable topic.

(DECA is a nonprofit with chapters on college campuses and in more than 3,500 high schools which prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for college and careers.)

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