Sierra Vista High NAMI Club Champions Mental Health Awareness

In its ninth year, the Sierra Vista High School National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Club has made significant strides in advocating for mental health awareness and combating the stigma associated with mental illness. Since its inception in the fall of 2015, the club has grown exponentially, with a notable increase in student membership this year, tripling from 100 students last year to a record 300 members.


This year's focus on engaging activities has been key to the club’s expansion. Student officers prioritized meaningful and enjoyable activities such as making slime, creating friendship bracelets, goal-setting exercises, stress-relieving games, pie-eating contests, and playing musical chairs. These activities, coupled with a supportive environment, have attracted a diverse group of students.


The club’s impact extends beyond its members, reaching the entire school community. During Suicide Awareness Month in September, the club placed uplifting and mindful sticky notes on every locker. During finals, they handed out inspirational notes with candy at the school gates, encouraging students to excel. The club's presence is also felt at various school events, including the Mental Health Fair, Coca & Cram, Trunk or Treat, Dia de los Muertos, and the SVHS Showcase. These initiatives have fostered a positive response across campus, promoting mental health awareness.


“The growth is all student-led; our officers are doing more hands-on activities, and I think it gives kids a break in a safe place to have some fun,” said Melanie Graf, SVHS teacher and NAMI Club Advisor.


The dedication of the club officers is evident in their commitment, meeting during a 30-minute advisory period and after school on Wednesdays, often spending 5-10 hours a week planning and managing club responsibilities. The 2023-24 Club Officers include President Emily Hernandez, Vice President Jonathan Cordon, Secretary Yingyi Mai, Treasurer Anqi Guan, Public Relations Media Anahi Fernandez, Public Relations On-Campus Melina Barrios, Historian Edbert Ramirez, and Webmaster Yuan Sison. With students leading most of the ideation process, Ms. Graf ensures that logistics, such as supplies and facility reservations, are in order while providing overall guidance. 


Beyond activities, the club offers leadership and growth opportunities, such as Youth Mental Health First Aid Training for officers and sessions with professional guest speakers from organizations like Hazel Health and Kaiser for members. The club plays a crucial role in the high school’s Mental Health Pathway, which prepares students for careers in the mental health industry. This pathway has grown from 11 students to 47 this year, with graduates earning a special graduation cord and certificate.


“I believe our club's growth shows that mental health is important. You cannot achieve your fullest potential in all aspects of your life without taking care of yourself first,” Graf said.


Recently, the club’s achievements were highlighted during a BPUSD Board of Education meeting on April 16, 2024, where the Board commended the club officers for their dedication and positive impact on the school community.


The SVHS NAMI Club’s efforts have not only increased awareness and reduced stigma but have also created a supportive community for students to address mental health issues, making a lasting impact on the entire school.



SVHS_NAMI1: Sierra Vista High School NAMI Club students pose for a group photo.


SVHS_NAMI2: Sierra Vista High School NAMI Club student officers pose for a photo while hosting their informational booth.


SVHS_NAMI3: Sierra Vista High School NAMI Club photo during a meeting with over 100 participants.


SVHS_NAMI4: Photo of Sierra Vista High School NAMI Club bulletin board with meeting information and uplifting messages for students.


SVHS_NAMI5: Sierra Vista High School NAMI Club student officers and advisor pose for a photo with BPUSD Board of Education and Superintendent Dr. Mendoza.