HOSA members spread awareness about mental health


from left to right: Julia Chang, Grace Thomas-Haney, Mirlinda Fetovski

From April 1st to the 4th, select HOSA students have had the opportunity to travel to the Wisconsin Dells and compete in a competition on promoting mental health. The students, Julia Chang, Mirlinda Fetovski, and Grace Thomas-Haney have scored third place at the HOSA State Leadership Conference and have qualified for the International Leadership Conference in Dallas, Texas.

What is HOSA? HOSA stands for Health Occupation Students of America; it is a club designed to allow students interested in the health field to gain experience and get a foot in the door. Each year, club members are given the opportunity to compete in a topic that relates to health, science, or math. They compete at regionals, and may gain the opportunity to go to state or national competitions.

Grace Thomas-Haney, Julia Chang, & Mirlinda Fetovski chose “Mental Health Promotion” as their HOSA competitive event. When asked the reasoning behind the choice, Grace explained, “Mental health: it isn’t discussed really at all here, aside from some helplines on the back of our id’s.” Furthermore adding that clubs that try to address essential issues lack the outreach they need to succeed. “When you walk around the school, you don’t see much involvement, sure people are in clubs but you don’t see people from clubs interacting with people outside of clubs,”  she observed. The project they developed for HOSA, “Craig Minds Matter,” though, has made great strides to increase its outreach. Outreach is a key part of their competition where they are expected to circulate and inform students about mental health awareness to succeed in their event and make it to state and nationals.

Their plan for outreach includes a four-step plan to increase presence within Craig Highschool. Firstly, they have created an Instagram (@craig.mindsmatter) account where they post information about a variety of mental health issues and wellness tips. Next, they gave in-class presentations to every health class and every AP psychology class. Then, they produced and placed 100 posters around the school that contained hotline information as well as a link to their Instagram. 

Craig Minds Matter also collaborated with the local Tony Huml Foundation. The foundation is a non-profit organization based around destigmatizing mental health and providing financial assistance to those seeking mental healthcare.

While it is unclear how many people Craig Minds Matter has affected, they have at least reached over 500  people across all of their in-school efforts. The presence of these support structures and informational messages could very well provide someone in need with the resources they require.  

Ultimately, Grace hopes that “HOSA is able to take on a new role within our school and grow larger.” She posits that if they could gain more members and fundraising, they would be able to make a noticeable difference in Craig’s culture, ultimately changing the futures of the student body. “Because in truth, HOSA is a great club for anyone interested in STEM; extending even beyond those who want to be in health” 


To find out more about HOSA and Julia, Mirlindia, and Grace’s efforts, follow @craig.mindsmatter on Instagram.