SGA prioritizes mental health awareness

Students+expressed+their+emotions+through+drawings+of+various+landscapes+during+SGA%27s+%22art+mindfulness%22+activity.+Photo+courtesy+Ray+Crist.

Students expressed their emotions through drawings of various landscapes during SGA's "art mindfulness" activity. Photo courtesy Ray Crist.

By Mira Dwyer

The SGA has increased efforts over the last month to raise awareness for mental health through seminars and activities.

Student-led mental health seminars, held during students’ third periods, focused on recognizing and assisting those with mental illnesses and concluded April 13. Mental-health oriented afterschool activities—including art mindfulness, yoga and a nature zen walk—were scheduled for the week of March 19–23. Yoga and nature zen walk were canceled due to emergency weather.

The seminars each lasted an entire period and were split into three parts: a student speaker talking about their personal experiences with mental health, a powerpoint presentation and a class discussion.  

“The purpose is to educate people about mental illness to help lessen the stigma around it and give people opportunities and encourage them to reach out for help if they need it,” SGA secretary Celia Shapiro, who organized the seminars, said.

Students expressed appreciation for the presentations, saying they allowed for important conversations that rarely take place in schools.

“I really enjoyed them. I feel like they brought up relevant issues in our society and in our school today, especially with all the stuff that happened in the fall,” junior Meghan Carey said. “I think it was just nice to have a discussion with my peers about a topic that isn’t talked about enough.”

While many were excited about the opportunity to express themselves through the art mindfulness activity after school, some students said they wished more people interested in art took advantage of the session.

“I admit the reception wasn’t what I wanted to see; I wanted to see a more conducive environment toward people who are looking to art as a mean of self-expression in terms of their mental health,” senior Hwi Yeo said. “But it was still a really good session and I appreciated the experience.’”

Students said they want to see a continued focus on mental health awareness to educate and help students.

“I think it’s a good thing to have mental health awareness, especially in this environment because it’s such a stressful place and I think a lot of people are struggling and don’t know what to do and are unaware that they’re not alone,” junior Gracie Horn said. “By raising awareness, people become more aware of their own situations too and can prevent tragic events.”