Ten-year-old Gabby Pascale, a fourth-grader at Winsor Hill Elementary, is one brave young lady.
Diagnosed with bipolar disorder a little over a year ago, she's taken it upon herself to share her journey of mental illness with others. Gabby was recently featured on the front page of the Sun Rise for sharing her and her family’s story. With the help of the school’s Health and Physical Education teacher Susan Parrillo, she organized a Mental Health Awareness day at the school last Friday.
Students dressed in green and donated $1 to participate in the day’s event, which included a group walk around the school. Gabby’s doctor, Dr. Daniel Dickstein of Bradley Hospital, presented information to the students about mental health issues and their treatments. Jenna Andreozzi shared her stories of anxiety and depression with the entire school, which had gathered in the gymnasium as a group to listen and ask questions.
Joely Centracchio, who was valedictorian of Johnston High School’s class of 2016 and who also suffers with mental health issues, provided a demonstration with bricks and a backpack to highlight the weight sufferers feel when dealing with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.
According to Susan Parillo, the day was meaningful and impactful, with an underlying message presented to students to love, accept, and be kind to others for they may not know what problems a person may face in their lives.
“I always tell my students, if you leave Winsor Hill School with one belief, it’s that one person can make a difference, and that person can be you,” she said.
Through their efforts, the school raised over $530 dollars, which will be donated to the Bradley Hospital Foundation to be used for research and mental health awareness initiatives.