Wellness Week is the beginning of a tradition for Buena high school, one which brings hope for a peace of mind from the hardships students face in and out of school. The event, coordinated by Daisy Mastroianni and Natasha Hillis, celebrated the second annual mental health awareness event from Dec. 9 to 13, 2019 with teachers and professional therapists teaming up to encourage students to safely express their issues and receive well-advised help.
Students Jenna Jimenez and Kenzie Herbert are one of many students who participated in the school-wide event. “I’m very glad the school is putting this on. I do feel very strong about mental health and being aware of things that might be happening, so I’m glad to see the school I go to cares about that as well.” Jimenez said. “I definitely plan on going back to the workshops because if they were this helpful for me this year, I think they’ll be even more helpful next year.” said Herbet.
Wellness Week aims to help students overcome the many problems they face. “I hope it reduces the stigma surrounding mental health and illness,” Hillis continued, “Opens up avenues for discussion between adults and students, provide education for students so that they’re better aware of what is out there, and give students strategies that they can put into use immediately, whether it’s about self-care, managing your anxiety, or being a supportive listener for a friend.”.
Wellness Week is innovating the way mental health issues are addressed in schools by involving students in the practice of spreading awareness. Drama 2’s mental health awareness skits are such examples of this. These skits cover a broad range of issues like anxiety, stress, depression, to the effects of lockdowns on students well beings, “I love the skits, I wish that more students seen the skits and the students who performed did a phenomenal job.” Mastroianni said. There is also discussions on how to include clubs can participate in the event and make mental health awareness a more prominent part of Buena’s school life year round.
However, it is important to remember that Wellness Week is just 30 minutes of explaining about the issue and what to do about them. “There’s a lot of information being given to you guys then it’s like ‘ok bell rang!’ and we have to go.” Hillis said. Wellness Week is just one part of helping students overcome the hardships we all face, “[students] are not alone in dealing with these problems. There are a lot of people out there who are also struggling…We’re all in this together.” Hillis said.