Home Cinnaminson News The drive to support mental-health patients

The drive to support mental-health patients

Students in Cinnaminson collect personal hygiene products

Mental Health Awareness Month is approaching in May, and in Cinnaminson schools, students are again offering help through an annual personal hygiene drive for patients entering mental-health facilities.

In other words: It’s ok to not be ok.

“We are collecting items that some patients might not have when they enter a mental-health facility,” said Cinnaminson High student council advisor Michele Forbes. “In order to help with their dignity and maintain a sense of having the same comfort items they had at home, we wanted to collect items to help those who may arrive in a facility without any items of their own.

“Many patients enter a facility without warning or being able to have notice to plan what to pack, so this helps out with those types of situations.”

Forbes, an AP psychology and literature teacher at the high school, is at the forefront of the drive, one that began Jan. 22 and continues through Feb. 16. The effort began three years ago and has grown since, with both students and residents helping out. Items collected include shampoo, conditioner and body wash.

“It’s a drive that many people comment about and say thank you for doing it,” Forbes noted. “We get a lot of items from the community sent in, so that tells me this is something that is meaningful and important to many of our students and families.

“I hope it continues to grow, and I’m sure it will, because this is such a caring community.”

The drive hits close to home for Forbes, who teaches psychology and human behavior. She wants students to learn the issues surrounding mental health and the experiences patients go through.

“My hope is that it is something that continues to grow in terms of the amount collected to benefit those in need and the impact it has on students who can understand the importance of giving back to the community …” she said.

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