The Eighth Day of #SADDmas!

by Rachael Pishtek

   My name is Katelyn, and I am a Northern Lights SADD alumna who was part of the organization for six years. During my time in high school, I was the President of my chapter and served on the Northern Lights Advisory Board. To me, the most important thing that Northern Lights has brought to my life is acceptance and a safe place to be who I am without drugs and alcohol.

   I have struggled with my mental health for years. One of the hardest parts about mental health issues is the stigma. Because of the stigma associated with mental illnesses, people don’t always seek the help that they need because they are too scared. SADD reassures that it’s okay to have a bad day or to struggle with your mental health. All of the people are so accepting that I can truly be myself around them instead of plastering on the smile that I sometimes hide behind in public. The great thing about Northern Lights is that students are getting into the classroom when students are still in elementary school and explaining that these feelings are normal and should be dealt with. With peer to peer education, the topics are relatable and students feel more comfortable with asking questions.

   SADD gave me confidence, not that I did not have any before joining, but because of SADD, I am able to stand up for what is right and speak my mind. It has also helped me come to terms with my struggle with depression. To continue to help students with their struggles and work to remove the stigma of mental health, please contribute to our campaign. We need you! 

About the Author

7Rachael Pishtek

Rachael Pishtek is a SADD alumna who served on the Northern Lights Advisory Board for two years and as the North Dakota representative on the National Student Leadership Council 2011-2012.

Pishtek, a 2015 graduate of Concordia College,  now works in marketing and development for Northern Lights Youth Services.

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