MHS Student Sculpts a Pathway for Mental Health Awareness

Pranav Nagila, junior, is taking mental illness awareness into his own hands, along with a bit of clay and some paint.

Media by Molly Sillitto
Pranav Nagila, junior, has taken it upon himself to create hand-crafted sculptures available for MHS students to buy. All funds are being donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Nagila is selling hand-crafted and painted sculptures through Friday, March 13, to raise awareness for suicide.

The sculptures Nagila is creating are sold at varying prices, which are listed on a website created by Nagila himself, Wildcard Productions. Once ordered, money is due to Katherin Bauman in Rm 220 by the end of the week and the sculptures are estimated to deliver to students in May.

Nagila said while he thought of creating sculptures for a cause a while ago, he decided on mental illness this year after a personal experience. During this time, he also discovered Mustangs for Mental Health (M4MH).

Annie Getts, president of M4MH, said that during high school, students are at an age where change, school work pressure, extracurriculars and personal lives break down on students’ mental well-being.

“Mental health is just as important as physical health, but often becomes a taboo subject to talk about,” Getts said.

M4MH’s main mission is to normalize talking about mental health and to provide healthy ways to cope with mental health struggles. Some of the activities surrounding  M4MH to promote awareness includes poster-making, chalk days, group discussions and coordinated sessions with speakers.

Getts said M4MH is always in need of more supporters and urged for more student involvement in the club in order to further normalize talking about mental health around MHS. 

We’ve come a long way in dealing with and talking about mental health, illness and wellbeing at Marquette, but we still have quite a ways to go,” Getts said.

We need to be there to support the people with mental illness.”

— Pranav Nagila

Katherine Bauman, social studies, is the adviser of M4MH. She said that, due to this organization being set up by a fellow peer, it has a bigger impact than it would have had it been established by an adult.

One of the main goals of M4MH is to have mental health and challenges of mental illness to be talked about so that others do not feel isolated or embarrassed with their individual issues.

Bauman said that among teenagers, mental health is a rising concern with the heightened mental illness and suicide shown in today’s generation.

“But people are being more open about mental illness and willing to find help if they need it,” Bauman said. “It’s obviously still a major problem among teenagers.”

Now a new member of M4MH, Nagila said M4MH is important because it breaks down a lot of the stigma behind mental illness. The club shows that mental illness is not how the media portrays it and is not something that gets better with daily pills.

“We need to be there to support the people with mental illness,” Nagila said. “We really need to understand that.”

Nagila said  society will not progress in solving mental illness if students enter the real world with the mentality that mental illness has a  certain “face” or look to it.

One of Nagila’s goal is to make money for the charity. But he said there is a deeper root in the organization that he’s created besides that. His overall goal is to spread awareness as to how other students can help. Nagila wants to let the students know that it’s the little things that matter, and a donation or even talking about mental illness with a friend is a productive action.

“We feel a little distant from certain topics because it’s not actually happening to us,” Nagila said. “With a fundraiser like this or even talking about mental illness is more humanizing.”

All of the funds will be donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.