Students educate on mental health concerns – Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch

St. Mary’s Student Council

As a Student Council, we wanted to raise awareness and show support to anyone battling mental health. In order to do so, we decided to have a mental health awareness week for our middle and high school students—the week of March 7 to 11.

Each day, students in grades 6-12 wore a specific color to show support for an illness or disorder. Monday was green for depression, Tuesday was purple for eating disorders, Wednesday was yellow for suicide, Thursday was orange for ADHD, and Friday was blue for anxiety.

“It was amazing to see everyone in grades 6 through 12 participate in the color days and show those who deal with these illnesses and conditions that they are not alone, and they are surrounded by support,” said Student Council President Kya Krzmarzick.

Many students in grades 9 through 12 also participated in activities throughout the week. On Monday, the students made stress balls using slime, beads, and balloons. Stress balls have been proven to help relieve stress and anxiety for those who use them.

Tuesday during morning break, a yogurt parfait bar was served to students and faculty to promote healthy eating and bring awareness on the impact that eating has on your mood.

Students were also given an opportunity to listen to a speaker Wednesday afternoon. We were very grateful to have Tammy Diehn from the program 2BContinued come in and speak on the topic of mental health and suicide prevention. Students were taught how to recognize and deal with mental health issues, as well as how to recognize people who may be struggling and were given ways to help them.

Thursday students made rosary bracelets, friendship bracelets, and did positive affirmation coloring pages to help with stress relief.

Lastly, on Friday, students played bingo to win fidget toys such as popits. Pop-its are fidget toys that help stimulate the brain and can also be a stress relieving object for many people.

“Through educational activities, students learned of the legitimacy of mental illness and therefore can now play a role in ending the stigma surrounding these illnesses,” said Abby Schwartz, member of the Student Council. “This week was a wonderful way to educate students on the fact that mental health is very real, and it is vital to make mental health a priority, just like physical health. As a student who has experienced mental illness, this week made me feel accepted and welcomed among the staff and students, and I hope many others felt the same.”

The Saint Mary’s High School Student Council would like to thank everyone who helped make this important week a success, especially all of the Student Council members and the advisors, Mrs Jennifer Fischer, Mrs Andrea Rothmeier, and Mr Nick Kaminsky. We also thank our counselor Mrs Ann Christensen for providing educational facts each day and treatment options for specific mental illnesses, as well as our principal Mr Peter Roufs.

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