According to a new study, published by the American Psychological Association, rates of mood disorders, especially anxiety, and suicide-related outcomes have increased significantly over the last decade among adolescents and young adults. Being aware of this increase in mood disorders, St. Patrick School dared to be different this past week and participated in Mental Health Awareness Week.
Each day of the week had a mental health concern associated with a specific color. Students wore shirts with the designated color each day. There were activities that were designated to go with each day. Here is a breakdown of each day’s color and activities:
On Monday, our students wore blue in recognition of those who struggle with depression. Students participated in a ”take what you need and give what you can” challenge where they were able to take phrases for themselves based on what they need in their life and/or pick an act of kindness to complete.
For Tuesday, students wore red in recognition of those who struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). We held an assembly to discuss mental health and PTSD. Mr. Jim Geisen from the Right Door for Hope, Recovery and Wellness presented to our students. He used the remainder of his time to answer any questions our students had.
The middle and high school split into separate groups to do a “Cross the Line” activity. This helped students gain a visual of the differences and similarities they have with other students and reflect on the theme that every person has their own story.
Wednesday, students wore yellow in recognition of those who struggle with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). Students colored an awareness ribbon. Those that finished their drawing turned them in to our school counselor. One lucky winner had a chance to pie a teacher during our culminating activity on Friday.
Our pastor, Fr. Michael J. Alber did a great job of connecting his homily at our weekly high school Mass into our Mental Health Awareness theme. After Mass, our high school students and staff spent 15 minutes in Adoration providing our students an opportunity to pray and give their struggles, concerns and cares over to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and to help them mentally focus and prepare for exam week.
For Thursday, students wore green in recognition of those who struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Students had the opportunity to make a green braided bracelet or test their OCD tendencies by making a beaded bracelet without a pattern.
Finally, on Friday, students wore pink in recognition of those who struggle with anxiety. This was the day we found out what class had the highest participation throughout our Mental Health Awareness Week. Those classes with the highest participation had student representatives selected that were able to “pie” select teachers who agreed to be models of putting their fears and anxieties aside so students could pie them for a little fun. The freshman had the highest percentage and won 10 pies while the sophomores and juniors tied for second and won four pies each. Alexis Hilliard was the student whose awareness ribbon was chosen so she was also able to pie a staff member of her choice. Finally, students were able to make their own slime during lunch to create a stress/anxiety relief tool. It was a fun and exciting way to end our week.
A very big thank you to senior Olivia Fogarty and our school counselor Mrs. Jenny Garcia for planning and leading our Mental Health Awareness Week activities. Also, a special thank you to all of the staff members who agreed to have a pie in their face. It was a great stress reliever for all as students get ready to take their exams, continue to celebrate and Advent and prepare for Christmas.