According to a data study from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), an estimated 50% of adolescents will struggle with a mental health disorder. This growing issue of mental health among middle school and high school-age students presents an opportunity for student-led organizations to step up and create awareness in their schools and communities alike.
The Chelsea High School Peer Helpers/FOCUS recently hosted a Mental Health Week on February 14-18, 2022 where they hosted several activities throughout the week to promote openness, self-awareness, and mindfulness to the students of Chelsea High School. Before each day of the week, announcements were read sharing quotes and describing the activities available during the hour-long lunch period, halftime. The students were engaged and participated in the following education and prevention activities:
February 14: Self-love Day (Valentines Day)
Throughout various halls of the school, posters were filled with sticky notes encouraging students to “take what you need.” The sticky notes had various positive messages and affirmations; some had drawings that would bring joy to those who wanted them!
February 15: Mental Health Panel (Openness Day)
During lunch period, seven peer helpers (Josh Baskaran, Sydney Bridgeman, Ahamed Diallo, Lilly Dong, Sage Hubert, Dani Thompson, Charlie Williams) hosted a panel where they discussed their own various struggles with mental health and left the floor open to anyone else who wanted to share. With school counselor Kadrian Delaine, they answered questions those who attended had about their experiences.
February 16: Mindfulness Day
One of Chelsea High’s science teachers, Robert Kirk, is known to host in-class mindfulness sessions, so we invited him to host a session during our lunch period where anyone was welcome. Students of all grade levels participated in his session.
February 17: Self-Awareness Day
During our lunch period, we invited a yoga instructor to lead a session in the gym to promote awareness of one’s own body. This session was a success in bringing peace to many who participated!
February 18: Mental Health Fair (Spreading Awareness Day)
The Peer Helpers have hosted the Mental Health Fair a few times; this allows students to see many organizations who deal with different aspects of mental health. During this fair, we hosted six organizations during our lunch period: Magnolia Creek (eating disorder awareness), Magic City Acceptance Center (LGBTQ+ awareness), Crisis Center (sexual violence prevention), ALSANA (eating disorder treatment center), Compact 2020 (substance abuse prevention), and FOCUS. Each had a table in our school’s lobby and interacted with students to teach them about each of their causes. This mental health fair was our most successful one yet!
We hope this article has inspired you to host a Mental Health Week at your school or community!
Chelsea High School