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HomeNewsArchivesCecile deJongh Announces Winners of Mental Health Essay Contest

Cecile deJongh Announces Winners of Mental Health Essay Contest

First Lady Cecile de Jongh has announced the winners of her mental health essay contest on the observance of World Mental Health Day, a designation so proclaimed by Governor John P. deJongh Jr. for Oct. 10.
The essay contest was kicked off with the start of the new school year in September and was developed to raise awareness on mental health issues and to call attention to the prevalence of the disorders amongst youth. The effort also seeks to encourage all Virgin Islanders to feel comfortable and confident in seeking professional, medical care, if needed.
“I am so proud of all the students who participated in the 2012 Mental Health Essay Contest, and congratulate the winners on their achievements. The essays were exceptionally well-done, and I applaud the students, as well as their family members and teachers for supporting and assisting their efforts,” Cecile deJongh said. “These are issues that affect Virgin Islanders on a daily basis, and it’s important to talk about it as families, as schools, and as a community towards the goal of erasing the stigmas and practicing good overall mental health and wellness.”
Winners for the St. Thomas-St. John district include: First Place: Sheila Joseph of Charlotte Amalie High School; Second Place: Ken-ya Dyer of Ivanna Eudora Kean High School; and there was a tie for Third Place between Khelsea Al-Arefi of Charlotte Amalie High School and Nyree Doway of Ivanna Eudora Kean High School.
Winners for the St. Croix district include: First Place: Enrico Farchette of St. Croix Educational Complex High School; Second Place: Aliyah Allick of The Good Hope School; and Third Place: Kayla King of St. Croix Educational Complex High School.
Cash prizes include: $300 for First Place; $150 for Second Place; and $75 for Third Place. With the tie for Third Place in the St. Thomas-St. John district, seven students will be awarded for their outstanding essays.
DeJongh chose to announce the winners of the essay contest on World Mental Health Day in recognition of the one in five Americans affected by mental illness. More than fifty million Americans suffer each year from a mental disorder such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
“In many cases, symptoms are ignored or self-treated, due to a lack of information, perceived stigmas or fear of treatment. Identifying the condition, no matter how it manifests, is key to feeling better and leading a balanced and happy life,” deJongh said.
Governor and First Lady deJongh commend all those in the public, private and non-profit sectors who assist in providing mental health services to the community and encourage all Virgin Islanders, and government agencies, businesses and civic organizations to openly discuss mental health issues.

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