Seneca Psychology Club spreads mental illness awareness with haunted fun

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Editor’s Note: According to Psychology Club advisor Sean Kennevan, due to the inclement weather predicted for Thursday, the Haunted Corn Maze Challenge has been changed to Sunday, Oct. 30 at 6:30 p.m.

October is filled with fun things to do to celebrate fall and Halloween. However, October is also a time to bring awareness to a lot of health-related diseases and conditions such as breast cancer, Down syndrome and mental illness.

Seneca High School’s Psychology Club is mixing the fun of October and the need to spread mental health illness awareness together with a Haunted Corn Maze Challenge on Oct. 30. The Haunted Corn Maze Challenge, held in partnership with V & V Adventure Farm, will raise awareness about mental illness and money for the National Alliance on Mental Illness in a fun way.

“I am beyond excited for the Haunted Corn Maze because it will be a great community event, and hopefully a successful way to raise money for NAMI. Between the bonfire, food, corn maze and prizes, it’s sure to be spooktacular,” said Seneca junior Julia Collins, the Psychology Club’s communications director.

Each year, the Seneca Psychology Club, made up of Seneca students and led by advisor Sean Kennevan, organizes an event to raise mental health awareness and to raise money to donate to National Alliance on Mental Illness. The club’s mission is to raise mental health awareness so everyone becomes more educated on the prevalence of mental illness in the U.S. and what can be done early on to help those individuals and their respective families in need. The club partners with NAMI since it is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization. The club also works directly with NAMI FACE of Burlington County, which works with individuals and families from the local community.

“We are raising money for NAMI to raise awareness for mental illnesses in our community. One out of five American adults suffers from a mental illness (according to NAMI statistic), and we are trying to help that by teaming up with NAMI,” said Seneca senior Ally Lardner, vice president of the Seneca Psychology Club.

The past two years, the club organized the Glow Run in May, and it was a huge success. This year Psychology Club students wanted to do something a little different and asked Kennevan if they could do something earlier in the fall so they could come up with a haunted theme.

After doing a little research, the club decided that going to the V & V Adventure Farm would be fun for all.

“The Seneca Psychology Club believes that holding events like this can help reduce myths about mental illness, educate others on the facts about mental illness and perhaps, most significantly, shed a little light on the darkness and ‘replacing stigma with hope,’” Kenneva said.

The Haunted Corn Maze Challenge is an 11-acre spider web designed corn maze. The challenge is to make it through the maze, and the first five to finish will receive prizes.

Along their journey, scary people may pop out from the cornfield to make the experience a little more frightening.

In addition, there will be a NAMI tent set up for anyone to talk with NAMI members and discuss how they can get involved.

All participants must arrive at V & V Adventure Farm by 6:30 p.m. with their flashlights ready. The cost is $10 and includes the corn maze challenge and then some fun afterward that everyone can enjoy such as hot chocolate, s’mores and a bonfire.

Other refreshments will be sold by V & V Farm, which is located at 1339 Old Indian Mills Road.

If you would like to donate, but don’t plan to participate in the event, the Psychology Club will accept checks payable to Seneca High School; please put “Psychology Club” in the memo section. A large portion of all proceeds will be donated to NAMI.

All are invited to participate. The Psychology Club hopes everyone who comes to the event becomes a little more aware about mental illness and the need for early intervention.

The club feels, through education and events such as this, people can help their community and make everyone’s life a little better.