Mental Health Awareness Week was extremely important for the Greenwood community this year. Dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in mental health being at an all-time low, especially for teens. I can personally say that being away from friends and my fellow classmates has taken a toll on my well-being, and I know others will agree with me.
Stigma surrounding mental health has only worsened now that we are distanced from each other and access to help has decreased due to lockdown. This is why Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) was one of the most important initiatives Jack Chapter has ever planned at Greenwood.
The theme of this year’s MHAW was ‘Overcoming Barriers’. We wanted to create initiatives that gave Greenwood students an opportunity to talk about their mental health, reduce stigma, and allow access to support if needed. We were also at a disadvantage with online learning and had to work around these barriers to provide the best content we could for the school.
A few initiatives we created were sharing videos on the morning announcements of students talking about mental health, welcoming guest speakers and hosting workshops to support mental well-being. We also hosted a workshop centered on men’s mental health specifically, which is a new concept we have been incorporating into our work throughout the year.
I had the opportunity to attend Scott Ste Marie’s workshop for the Grade 11s and 12s. Scott gave incredible insight on anxiety and depression and how to find meaning in your life. He walked us through several well-being activities throughout his presentation and gave a positive perspective on mental health.
One of my tasks, along with a few Grade 11 students, was to create a video for the morning announcements. Sticking with this year’s theme, we created a short video about how to overcome barriers when seeking help. I spoke about my own personal struggles and expressed the positives of reaching out to others. Also in this video, two Grade 11 students talked about specific phrases you can use to approach someone when you want to open up and talk about your mental health. Tessa Palmert ‘22 concluded the video by listing several mental health and well-being resources.
Overall, this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week was more important than ever and I believe the Jack Chapter, along with the help of other committees and staff at Greenwood, created a very successful and supportive week full of positive outlooks and great discussions.