Lanier High School (2023)

Lanier High School (LHS) is the oldest African American high school in Jackson, MS. The rich traditions and history are still evident where approximately 600 students are enrolled and learning daily. Although located in the heart of the capital city and minutes away from the largest healthcare provider, students and families of Lanier High School and their feeder schools face overwhelming health disparities, such as access to healthcare due to transportation, gaps in care, food insecurities, and supporting resources to ensure college and career readiness. Since 1998, the mission of the Lanier High School National Alumni Association (LHSNAA) has been to support academic success and to support the development of the skill sets that will contribute to participatory citizenship of all students. LHSNAA was created by a group of LHS graduates who were committed to actively working to ensure that students who came after them would have the additional support needed to be successful. The ultimate goal of our association is to support all aspects of Lanier High School and serve as a resource for school leadership, families, and students.
In 2022, LHSNAA and UMMC School of Nursing made a commitment to assist with prioritizing health initiatives and activities to better serve students and their concerns. The first project was to organize a student-led advisory committee to identify the needs and activities that would be most impactful to their peers. The priorities set included addressing mental health, bullying, and college/career readiness. In the spring of 2022 we began Mindful Mondays. On the first Monday of each month, upon entering the doors of the school, students received positive and uplifting affirmation cards and resources for mental health awareness. Words of encouragement, giveaways, such as stress balls, and snacks were provided to students. Following the kick-off of Mindful Mondays, alumni members and UMMC SON hosted “My Sister’s Closet”, a prom dress shop for students in need of attire for prom and homecoming season. In the summer of 2022, volunteers, school and clinic staff participated in a first aid mental health training, hosted by UMMC School of Nursing and Teen Health MS. Completing this training afforded the opportunity to have an additional 10% of staff to be trained in spring of 2023, as well as the 15 students who have expressed interest in mental health first aid. This training teaches individuals to better identify signs and symptoms of depression and offer and information on the proper avenues to seek professional support. During the fall semester our newly formed, Lanier Teen Health Ambassadors created daily mental health awareness activities to educate their peers on available resources and coping mechanisms for mental health. This group meets each month to address student needs, peer-to-peer health education techniques and additional opportunities hosted by partners, such as ACT and college-prep opportunities. With funding and mentor support from Carmilla Chinn Hampton Legacy Foundation and LHSNAA Alumni Members, the teen health ambassadors and school-based clinic will be able to host ongoing activities and educational opportunities for students.