Duval County Public Schools mental health campaign is grabbing attention online

Parents concerned about #takeoffyourmask campaign

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Duval County Public Schools is using #TakeOffYourMask to encourage students to let their guard down and unmask how they’re really feeling.

In the campaign video a student says, “It’s OK to take your mask off and ask for help.”

It’s aimed at preventing and bringing awareness towards teen suicide.

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DCPS Spokesperson Tracy Pierce explains, “As many as 30% of teenagers have contemplated committing suicide that’s what really should get the attention here.”

In the district’s video, you can see students taking off their masks and sharing what they’re really going through.

Some parents and teachers feel the important message the district is trying to get across will get lost in translation.

“I’m glad that they are trying to work on this, that said I do worry a little bit about the mixed messages here,” explains Jennifer Cowart.

Jennifer Cowart is a Duval County parent. She sees it as a tough message to try and sell, especially when using #TakeOffYourMask on social media.

“I would worry about the message not only being confusing, but I would also worry about that hashtag being co-opted by people with a very different agenda, especially related to COVID-19.”

The district tells us it will continue with the campaign.

Pierce explains, “We care for them deeply and if they are struggling emotionally, we want them to reach out and get help when it’s time to do so.”

But moving forward the district will focus on using #YouMatter.

Cowart says, “Oh I like that yeah #YouMatter is great.”

(Duval County Public Schools)