Sources of Strength

Club concentrates on supporting student mental health


 Mental health is all about getting people the support they need and deserve to help them when they are struggling the most. Sources of Strength is a mental health awareness club, working to prevent suicide in our community.     

The club has been growing each year with new members ranging from freshman to seniors. Their goal is to provide the maximum amount of love and care for every student, as well as someone to lean on during times of need and uncertainty.

“It has been incredible watching this club grow into what it is from the 11 members we had in 2018,” senior Sydney Nissen said. “BV West has the biggest Sources [of Strength] participation in the whole district so not only are we influencing students at West but the whole community; which really goes to show how we have grown and how we can make a difference.”

Along with several upperclassmen, Nissen has been a part of Sources of Strength since the beginning.

“Ms. Madderom was one of the original sponsors for the club and was also my JV cheer coach so she encouraged me to join. I had never heard of Sources but after finding out more about the club I really wanted to join. I also have dealt with and watched family members struggle with mental health issues so I thought this would be a good platform to advocate about it,” said Nissen.

Over time, the club has adopted several traditions and strategies to spread its message. Due to COVID-19, this year has been quite different for these students.

“We have hosted Zooms on certain issues that students might be dealing with and make sure to post relevant content on the Instagram that correlates with the circumstances,” Nissen said.

Despite the lack of hands-on group collaboration, the Sources of Strength members continued to spread their message by adapting to the pandemic lifestyle.

“Big or small so many people have dealt with mental health in the midst of this pandemic. We strive to normalize this in efforts to bring more positivity and light in such a dark time; I think we have been able to do so especially through our social media platforms,” said Nissen.

Just like balancing social life and phone use is often important to our generation, social media as seen as a tool for good but with the potential for bad. Every social media platform has its pitfalls, but can also be used to benefit individuals and society. For Sources of Strength, Instagram became a huge part of spreading positivity and awareness when practicing social distancing.    

Junior Shanzay Qalbani plays an active role on Instagram.   

“We have made a very prominent position on social media due to that being one of our only outlets of being able to connect with students right now. We have hosted Zooms on certain issues that students might be dealing with and make sure to post relevant content on Instagram that correlates with the circumstances. Go follow us! @bvwsourcesofstrength,” said Qalbani.

Social media helped groups such as Sources of Strength gain new followers by actively posting content of their own. Without this outlet, connections between students could not be made as often. In particular, Qalbani focused on bringing awareness to body positivity and connecting to those struggling in silence.

“Personally, I have dealt with hardships in disordered eating and not feeling confident in my body,” said Qalbani. “This club has been a place where I have been able to openly talk about it and share my story to people that had also felt that way. It made me feel less alone, and that is exactly what I want for others to walk away with. A feeling of “ok I can really do this” a feeling of “my problems are nothing I can’t handle.”

Sources of Strength are not restricted to any particular part of BV West. All grades are welcome to join. Like many others, sophomore Madi Skourpan was inspired by the kindness of this group of students.

“I joined Sources because it looked so fun, and it also was a good way to get involved. I had many friends who showed me Sources of Strength and that they welcomed anyone and everyone interested in joining, I have found that Sources of Strength is a place to make fun new friends and also make your life mentally more positive. No matter who you are and how much you participate in the club, it’s always happy and positive,” said Skourpan.

Those interested in helping spread mental health awareness, Sources of Strength is always looking to expand its membership.

“There are very minimal commitments in this club and all it does really is pick you up on days when you really need it. The people in this club genuinely care about the well-being of their peers and it provides you an outlet for people that can be dealing with the same things as you, especially if talking to adults intimidates you,” said Qalbani.

As many of the beginning members of sources of strength graduate this year, they hope for students to continue the legacy that Sources of Strength team has built throughout its short time here at BV West.

“I really hope that after I graduate and this club continues to grow, that the members don’t lose sight of the core values of Sources. I want the members to continue spreading light to the students of BVW and out in the community” said Nissen.