Updated: May 31
As we wrap Mental Health Awareness Month - and the school year - we wanted to take a moment to ask why this is significant. After all, isn’t the wellbeing of our students a year-long effort?
Yes, that’s right and this was a year when we took that commitment seriously here at Berkeley Hall. But with our young people facing big challenges, we are using every opportunity to shine a light on their mental and emotional wellbeing.
“We wanted to use this month to bring awareness, as simple or basic as that may sound,” says Mackenzie Scott, Berkeley Hall School’s Director of Wellness. “Sometimes just starting with acknowledging the fact that everyone is on a journey and we all are experiencing life in different ways is the most important step.”
So, we approached this time as another chance for us to raise awareness, start conversations, and share with you the work we do to support our Bobcats during their time at Berkeley Hall and beyond. After all, one of the most important ways we feel we can help our young learners is by listening to them and really looking at their needs.
Topics that come up in our conversations at Berkeley Hall are:
Identity Development: our adolescents are experiencing anxiety relating to self- image and identity issues as they go through this time of change.
Peer Dynamics: middle schoolers are facing emotional challenges stemming from their desire to socialize and fit in.
Technology Influences: social media exposure and screen time is making our young people vulnerable to information overload, cyberbullying, and low self-esteem.
Academic Pressure: children are experiencing stress and anxiety as they strive to meet academic demands.
Transition Stress: entering high school can lead to academic, athletic, and extra-curricular performance worries, as well as social and emotional concerns.
How we address these topics at Berkeley Hall:
A Safe and Supportive Environment: In the Wellness Center and throughout school we work together with students, parents, and faculty to promote well-being and support students.
Mental Health Awareness: We use opportunities like Mental Health Awareness Month to encourage a culture of inclusivity, empathy, and respect in our community.
Community Events: We engage students in conversation. We have a JH Mental Health Panel one coming up in early June.
Educational Programming: We develop emotional literacy by bringing mental health education into our curriculum with programs like Human Development and Cyber Safety so students have access to information and resources.
Professional Resources: We help teachers improve their understanding of issues and equip them with ways to support students.
Social and Emotional Learning (SEL): We help students express their emotions and develop healthy coping skills. We also instill our founding values so students gain empathy and understanding for each other.
Outdoor Ed, Athletics, and More: We offer students opportunities and spaces to reflect and do mindfulness activities to develop healthy habits that boost their self-awareness and coping skills and grow emotionally.
Faculty and Administrator Support Systems: When learning opportunities come up, we assist students in a non-judgmental, confidential manner as they work through issues.
So, we are thankful for this month of increased awareness dedicated to mental wellbeing because it’s a good reminder to prioritize mental health with the young people in our care constantly. It’s also a chance for us to share information and invite everyone in our community to engage in important conversations.
Join us in our efforts to empower our students and seize opportunities to create a supportive environment for them to thrive in and grow. Contact the Wellness Center with any questions and feedback.