Wellness and Mental Health at Mendham High School

Image+courtesy+of+hbr.org+

Image courtesy of hbr.org

Allie Richter, Staff Writer

These times we are in have affected everyone in one way or another. A major impact of this pandemic is on people’s mental health. The mix of isolation and having to try and keep in contact with their friends and loved ones can be extremely challenging and can cause mental health issues to arise. According to kff.org, “ During the pandemic, about 4 in 10 adults in the U.S have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder” These mental health issues are clearly something that many people are struggling with especially students who have had their entire daily routines changed and having to deal with this new change can be hard and stressful. 

The environment and what it provides people with can have a major impact on a person’s mental health and as a student during the pandemic, I have noticed our school placing bigger importance and focus on mental health and wanted to learn more about these new changes and how they are impacting the student body. I decided to talk to Ms. D’Alessio, Mr. Santos, and Mr. Jeros who are all in charge of dealing with the mental health services provided at Mendham High School.

Due to the pandemic, I was curious if the counselors have changed the way they prioritize the importance of mental health care here at Mendham High School. Ms. D’Alessio talked about how mental health services have always been a priority to them, “Just like the primary focus of a teacher is to teach their specific subject content, the focus of Ms. D’Alessio, Mr. Santos, and Mr. Jeros is to offer various mental health services”. Some issues that have arisen from the current climate that they are prioritizing include helping students create connections, manage overwhelming emotions, decreased motivation, and issues that deal with the transition to this new school environment. Every year is different and so the counselors have to adapt and be able to give the help that the students currently need which is exactly what they are doing.

The major area of concern is student isolation. Their goal is to “ensure that all of our students feel connected to their school community, and their peers.” Creating connections is a huge aspect of mental health and they have also realized the importance of this and how a school is normally a place for that. Also managing the transition from full remote to hybrid has been challenging for many students and so they have been helping students make it more manageable.

The addition of the Zen zone, a place where students can go to relax and recharge has been a really big aspect of improving the mental health of the students at Mendham High school. Allowing the students a place to recharge and connect with each other has created a noticeable positive impact on students’ well-being and helps students grow and learn self-care

tips and wellness tools. 

If you are struggling this year just know that you are not alone in your battle and know that there are so many people at this school that want to support you and help. There are tools and resources available here at Mendham and don’t ever feel ashamed for asking for help. According to Ms. D’Alessio “Asking for help is courageous and is a character strength, not a character weakness.”