EIS Aevidum Club

A group of Ephrata Intermediate School (EIS) students is committed to their classmates’ well-being and has been working since February to create an Aevidum club at EIS.  “These students want to be mental health advocates and support anyone experiencing the emotional challenges of teen life,” said EIS School Counselor Mr. Jay Crow.

The word “Aevidum” means “I’ve got your back” and was the name of a club at Cocalico High School created more than ten years ago after losing a classmate to suicide.  This first Aevidum club has served as the model for clubs of the same name which are now located in schools across the country.

The newly created EIS club also sets a foundation for continued involvement in the future.  Ephrata High School has had an Aevidum club since 2011, and over 40 students are actively involved with promoting mental health awareness and suicide prevention.   The Cocalico and Ephrata clubs often collaborate and join their efforts, most recently to create a network among all Aevidum clubs nationwide.

Students from EIS and EHS joined clubs from across the county and recently attended the Lancaster County Aevidum Conference at Rock Lititz.  Students learned ways to grow the Aevidum mission at their schools and positively impact their classmates.  “Students are now working with administrators to implement what they learned, including a mental health intervention called QPR or Question, Persuade, Refer,” said Mrs. Francie Wiker, Ephrata Area School District Home and School Visitor and EHS Aevidum Club Advisor.

“By talking openly about these issues and supporting one another we hope that we will never have to lose another friend or family member to suicide, again.  We also hope that individuals who have mental illnesses understand that they are not alone and that there is help for them to be able to live their best life. Ultimately, we wish to destigmatize mental illness and create a supportive environment to help our Ephrata Community,” Mrs. Wiker concluded.