The eye-catching mural outside of the Student Based Health Center has brought positivity and mental health awareness to the EHHS community, but who is behind it?
Leigh Forte has spent 3 years working at EHHS in the Behavioral Health Clinic (BHC). The BHC plays an important role in the school community. While the Student Based Health Center focuses on the physical health of students, the BHC focuses on the mental health and well being of the students at EHHS. Forte says that her goal is to provide a space at school that doesn’t feel like school. Students come to the BHC for support and advice. She wants to provide a safe and friendly place for students to feel comfortable and welcome.
The mural is a culmination of artwork from the students enrolled in the BHC. Forte says she wanted, “to share the artwork of the students in the art therapy program without breaking their confidentiality, and this was a perfect opportunity.” The mural took about three weeks to create and will soon be replaced by a new mural created by the students, staff, and interns at the BHC. The new mural will be superhero themed and will be put up sometime around the last week of February.
Students walk past and appreciate this colorful, inspirational mural every day. EHHS senior Amanda Pascale says she was unaware of the group behind this artwork but believes it is a meaningful piece to the EHHS community. Amanda said, “I feel as if this mural is supposed to represent a student’s mental state and it’s a journey portraying how one can find hope even if a situation looks dark and bleak.” Amanda also emphasizes how it has added a, “sense of positive motivation” and helps to reach through to those who may be struggling with finding help. Amanda feels the anonymity has made the piece more meaningful since it is not treated as an advertisement for the group behind it, but simply treated as a heartfelt piece concerned about the mental health of the EHHS
For students who are interested, the BHC offers an art therapy studio group from 2-3:30 every Thursday in W117, exclusive to those enrolled in the BHC, however, students can easily enroll online at sbhc1.com.