GREENWOOD — Half of all Indiana teenagers have felt hopeless for an extended period of time, according to the Indiana Youth Institute. Greenwood High School students hope to reverse the trend by opening up about their mental health.
"People say mean things about you online...you hear that and sit in your room and stare at the ceiling," said Greenwood senior Logan Connor. "You hate yourself, really."
Greenwood students and football players wore highlighter green to "highlight mental health" for Friday night's home game versus Decatur Central.
Anthem Health also gave away mental health resources at the gate, including merchandise featuring the new 988 suicide and crisis hotline.
"You can't run into somebody who doesn't know about 911and what to do in an emergency," said Kimberly Roop, the president of Anthem Indiana Medicaid. "This is the same. This is an emergency."
Greenwood students spent the week leading up to the game having tough conversations about mental health and the pressures they face as teenagers.
"Opening up like that, you're scared people are going to make fun of you," Connor said. "You're scared that you might seem soft to your teammates or your coaches. I just feel like that whole stigma behind it is a bunch of crap."
The stigma is fading away at the school and the community hopes the Highlighting Mental Health game is just the beginning of the conversation.
"Healing a community from the inside out is the most effective way to do it," Roop said.
"Everybody just united and came up as one to fight against that stigma we had as a school, and it's been amazing to see how it's changed," Connor said.
Greenwood High School will continue its mental health awareness week with a suicide prevention walk at the school. The walk will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday night.