- Pierre Van Cortlandt Middle School
Mental Health Awareness Month
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and each school has placed a special emphasis on this important topic, in addition to the ongoing work throughout the year. Today, CHHS students spent the afternoon at CET with kindergarten and first grader students talking (big) kid to (little) kid about what mental health is and how it’s important to take care of it, just like physical health.
“We told them that sometimes you don’t have a good day or feel sad and that it’s ok, and that it’s also good to find something to do to make yourself happy again,” explained CHHS sophomore Samantha. Hannah, who was also at her station, told them this was about finding ways “to stay happy in your mind.”
Ideas for how young students can find ways to work through difficult feelings were central to their time together, as high school students engaged them in physical activity at different stations. These included navigating obstacle courses, playing musical chairs, coloring a large sign with their friends, and listening to music and dancing, among others. Each station was designed by the high school students who engaged the younger students in conversation. A number of kindergarten students said that they were having “lots of fun” and “liked running with bigger kids.”
Another sophomore, Sofia, said that she didn’t recall being part of discussions about mental health when she was in kindergarten or first grade and appreciates that this is changing. “It’s so good to learn about the importance of mental health at an early age,” said Sofia. “We hope this helps show (them) that they can find different types of outlets when they need them.”
PVC students are also engaged in activities this month. Student Assistance counselor Ms. Langer, who recently joined PVC, has been conducting a lunch-time activity during which students are asked to think about their support network - who they go to support as well as to whom they offer support. They constructed a paper chain with each student writing the names in their network. The chain symbolizes the importance of linkages among us all.
Finally, CHHS students, faculty and staff are also participating in a two-day Walk-a-Thon in support of the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI). For the past two days, participants have been walking the track during school hours while also raising funds for NAMI. Nearly $500 has been raised so far and donations are still welcome at this link.