CICERO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Students walking the halls in between class is a normal part of high school. The past two years have been anything but normal. Sam Klein is a senior at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.

“It’s been crazy,” Klein explained. “Looking back, my high school experience has been warped to the max. I only had about six months of my sophomore year here. My whole junior year was online. For half of my senior year I was wearing a mask.”

Hannah Boyle, an 11th grader plays field hockey. The pandemic impacted that too.

“The hardest part for me was kind of when sports went away for a while. I had developed my identity so close with my sport and it kind of forced me to see who is Hannah outside of school, outside of her sport.”

Hannah Boyle, an 11th grade student at Cicero-North Syracuse

Boyle credits her family for helping her find things that bring her joy. “I love photography, I love baking,” Boyle said.

As the ambassador for the organization, The Hidden Opponent, she’s working to destigmatize talking about mental health.

“You want to have those conversations to make sure that anyone who is struggling, know’s that they’re loved and cared about,” Boyle said.

That message is displayed throughout the school. Sam Klein is part of the effort to plan “P.S. I love you” activities.

“I think it gives people a chance to connect and to understand that they’re not alone, that there’s other people that are struggling and that there’s other people that want to bring awareness to it,” Klein said. “And that they really should become part of something bigger for the sake of themselves and their peers.”

Those students are part of a larger effort by the school district to address mental health and suicide in a pilot program with Contact Community Services called Suicide Safety in Schools. Iris St. Meran will tell us more about that program Friday night on NewsChannel 9 beginning at five o’clock.

If you are struggling you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The number is (800) 273-8255.