“A not so silent night” proved to be just that: we shined a light on mental health!
On Thursday, December 9th in downtown D.C., OMM hosted a meaningful event filled with powerful stories on mental health from our community.
Thank you to the students, school staff, family, and community members, especially from our three major school district partners (Fairfax County Public Schools, Montgomery County Public Schools and DC Public Schools) who were able to attend the event! A Not So Silent Night 2021 would not have been a success without your supportive presence.
Couldn’t make it? View the photo library or watch the event video!
highlights of A Not So Silent Night 2021 below!
Upon arriving, attendees were able to speak with and hear directly about the impact clubs are making in their communities from Battlefield High School, Frost Middle School, Quince Orchard High School, and Woodson High School. Additionally, guests were able to interact with a visual display about OMM’s new partnership and club expansion into D.C. Public Schools.
teen advisory council
If interacting directly with student leaders and club sponsors wasn’t inspiring enough. Guests had the opportunity to meet three members from OMM’s Teen Advisory Council (TAC) that was launched in August 2021. TAC members Ava Belmont, CJ Crombie, and Kheira Bekkadjak shared more about how student voices are helping to shape the future OMM goals and programming!
DIANE ROSS (emcee), board member & co-sponsor at Chantilly High school
Diane Ross served as our fabulous emcee for the evening. She introduced our amazing line-up which consisted of student keynote speaker Almu Nunez, our executive director Lauren Anderson, and student leader Jada Bromberg. As Diane aptly states, the students are doing “extraordinary work and they are striving to become part of something so much larger than themselves, a movement that really sheds the light on mental health.”
ALMU NUNEZ (STUDENT KEYNOTE SPEAKER), Co-President of the Rams OMM Club at James W. Robinson Jr. Secondary School
We are so inspired by Almu Nunez when she spoke about her difficult mental health journey from surviving severe bullying and sexual assault. Almu had a powerful reflection about suicide: “People have this perception that suicidal people just don’t care about the people around them. But, after me thinking that suicide was the best option for me, I can say that we care too much. We care too much about what people think, what they will say or how they would react.”
She has been part of OMM since 2019, when her school social worker Ms. Levy encouraged her to attend an OMM club meeting after school – and there, she found herself in a place where she felt like she was heard.
Almu finished her speech on a powerful note. “I wanted to take the time now to thank Our Minds Matter for assisting and helping people like me find hope because you guys really make me feel like I am enough. I don’t have to be anything, I don’t have to pretend I can just be Almu. But most importantly, thanks to me. Life might have put me down, shattered me, thrown me against the wall but it was my perfect excuse for a renovation. My wounds are almost done scarring my tears are almost dry, my eyes are shining brighter than ever and my heart, my heart is still beating.” We can all learn from Almu to be that person who truly listens to others, to seek support from people who care, and to find the strength within us to carry on.
We had a quick Superhuman pose demonstration from Almu and Diane. Strike a Superhuman pose now to feel that extra surge of courage!
LAUREN ANDERSON, CO-FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Our executive director Lauren Anderson emphasized the importance of mental health since we are currently living in a dual pandemic of COVID and deteriorating mental health. She shared that the U.S. Surgeon General issued an advisory on the youth mental health crisis. Lauren called us to action, saying that we can all be part of a radical movement to prioritize mental health by raising awareness, normalizing discussions and treatments, and creating safety plans for suicidal feelings. We can keep her words in mind and be the change around mental health that we want to see. “Use that inspiration to drive action and change in how you as an individual view and prioritize mental health.”
JADA BROMBERG, STUDENT LEADER at Woodson high school AND SONGWRITER
Jada Bromberg wrapped up our evening with her original music, a beautiful song that she specifically wrote for the event titled “A Not So Silent Night With You”. Jada’s music is inspired by her mental health experience after she was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. She wants to break down the stigma around mental health through her songs and remind people that they are not alone in their mental health struggles.
We are so grateful that we could gather safely in-person to celebrate our shared commitment to ending teen suicide.
OMM extends gratitude to our generous sponsors who make our work and this event possible!
We hope to see you at future OMM in-person events once we can gather safely again.