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Pell City student group to present first aid training for mental health

CEPA teaser

The Center for Education and Performing Arts (CEPA) in Pell City.

A student club at Pell City High School that’s dedicated to raising community awareness for conditions that include anxiety and depression will present Teen Mental Health First Aid Training Monday, Nov. 28, from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the Center for Education and Performing Arts in Pell City.

“Parents, teachers and anyone wishing to learn more about mental health and wellness are encouraged to attend,” said Jeff Thompson, executive director for CEPA.

Students who attend the event from age 15-18 can be certified in teen mental health training during this program, Thompson said.

Going by the name SEM;COLON, the club began in 2021 at PCHS as a student-led mental health initiative. It was recognized this year as an official PCHS club.

The symbol of the semicolon used by the international organization and its local chapters is a reminder to youth that, just like when it’s used in a sentence, the semicolon means that someone’s story isn’t over. 

Besides hosting numerous events within the school, the club has produced a podcast and short film focused on suicide awareness, and most recently began a web series called SEM;COLON Sound-Out that features community conversations on the topics of anxiety, depression and suicide, Thompson said. 

Dinner will be provided to teens who attend the training by the Rotary Club of Pell City. 

“Rotary has been active in 2022 in increasing awareness for the community’s mental health needs, both in working with SEM;COLON and with the Pell City Mental Health Task Force,” Thompson said.

The Teen Mental Health First Aid program helps adolescents learn the skills they need to have supportive conversations with their friends and how to get help from a responsible and trusted adult. The program will be led by the Addiction Prevention Coalition.

Project SEM;COLON addresses the development and support, along with implementation of suicide prevention initiatives throughout the globe. It works to promote public conversations about suicide and prevention that is safe and helpful for peers.

For more on SEM;COLON, find them on Facebook or Instagram or visit the site projectsemicolon.

The Addiction Prevention Coalition (APC) is a nonprofit community resource that provides in-school prevention programs, educational events, and a collection of support services.