Behind Every Smile strives to end the stigma surrounding mental health


Ana Patricio '24

The Behind Every Smile Club takes action on their mission to educate students on the importance of mental wellness.

Seniors Charlotte Burchetta and Charlotte Marvin introduced the Behind Every Smile Club to the Sacred Heart community at the start of the 2021 to 2022 academic year.  The club focuses on raising awareness of the importance of mental health to promote the well-being of every student.  Club heads Charlotte B and Charlotte M acknowledge the lack of attention on this topic, specifically in younger generations, and strive to implement change.  Hoping to decrease the stigma around mental illness, the two girls work to educate all age groups on its relevance.

“We want to accomplish making mental health less taboo, emphasizing how mental wellness should be just as prioritized as physical health is,” Charlotte B said.  “Bringing comfort to the discussion on the topic will allow people to recognize that they are not alone and that there are ways to reach out and ask for help.”

Although both physical and mental health are essential to everyone’s well-being, physical health often dominates conversations and proactivity, according to a study by the National Alliance on Mental Illness organization (NAMI).  As stress and anxiety levels increase in academic settings, students struggle with mental illnesses a lot earlier in life, according to

Out of all pediatric mental illness cases, half begin by age 14.  Courtesy of

According to a NAMI, one in six youths in the United States, ages six through 17 experience a mental health disorder each year.  Additionally, half of all mental health conditions begin by age 14.  NAMI’s study reveals that the development of mental conditions starts throughout the teenage years. By introducing a space where youths can feel comfortable early on, people can prevent and treat potential disorders.

Last spring, Charlotte B and Charlotte M submitted a club proposal for the 2021 to 2022 academic year.  Upon the club’s approval, the two club heads began planning how to integrate a gradual conversation regarding mental health into the Sacred Heart community.  The pair discovered Bring Change to Mind (BC2M), a non-profit organization with goals to end the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness, according to

We applied for a grant from Bring Change to Mind, founded by actress and activist Glenn Close,” Charlotte M said. “The grant money would provide the school with more access to resources, presentations, and mental health websites and apps.”  

BC2M has a high school program that gives teenagers a platform to speak up and share their voices while raising awareness about mental health.  The program allows students to take action within their own school communities.  These student-led clubs deconstruct the negative reputation that mental illness holds.

While taking action on their mission, the club heads reach out to organizations such as BC2M to provide more information on the topic and broaden people’s knowledge on mental wellness. By exposing students and staff to new insights, the stigma on the subject will begin to give way to openness and understanding.

Club heads Charlotte Marvin ’22 and Charlotte Burchetta ’22 present the Behind Every Smile Club at the club fair.  Courtesy of Ms. Lucie Turkel

The Behind Every Smile Club provides resources for students and faculty within the Sacred Heart community, acting on their objective of fostering conversations about mental health. By receiving the BC2M grant, Charlotte B and Charlotte M will have access to more ways of opening educating others on the topic.

Charlotte B and Charlotte M utilize their new club to address the topic of mental health among younger generations.  The club not only strives to help its members cope with stress and tackle anxieties but also establishes educational resources for all Sacred Heart members to further their understanding of mental wellness.

“Negative thoughts and stress overwhelm everyone, no matter who you are,” Charlotte B said.  “Sharing ways and resources for people to overcome these conflicts will allow people to realize they are not alone when feeling like they have no one to turn to.”

Featured Image by Ana Patricio ’24