• Randy Hodge

St. Patrick Students Participate in Mental Health Awareness Week

Recent studies show that rates of mood disorders, especially anxiety, and suicide-related outcomes have increased significantly over the last decade among adolescents and young adults, and this was before the COVID pandemic struck. Being aware of this increase in mood disorders, St. Patrick School dared to be different this past week and participated in our second annual Mental Health Awareness Week.

Each day of the week had a mental health concern associated with a specific color. Students dressed in clothes in the designated colors each day. There were activities to go with each day. Here is a breakdown of each day’s color and activities:

On Monday, our students wore green in recognition of those who struggle with depression. During lunch, students filled jars with positive messages, inspirational quotes, and prayers. These will be available for the rest of the school year for anyone to take when they are feeling down.

On Tuesday, students were scheduled to wear blue in recognition of those who struggle with anxiety. Since we had a snow day on Tuesday, students had the opportunity to wear blue on Friday.

Wednesday, students wore purple in recognition of those who struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Students were provided with a poster full of information about OCD and slime was available. Slime is a good tool for anxiety because it allows your mind to focus on something other than your worries. Students also watched a video from Rachel Selby, the School Outreach Coordinator from The Right Door For Hope, Recovery and Wellness.

On Thursday, students wore orange in recognition of those who struggle with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). During lunch, we played a focused music playlist. Music relies on structure and the use of rhythm and timing. Since ADHD often involves difficulty with tracking timing and duration, listening to music might help improve performance in these areas.

Finally, on Friday, students wore red in recognition of those who struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). At lunch, students wrote appreciation letters to anyone who has been there for them unconditionally. This could have been to a family member, friend, teacher, or mentor.

This year, we had a contest called “Change for Change.” Middle and high school students competed to see who could bring in the most change to raise money for The Right Door’s “Drab to Fab” event which helps adults in need obtain haircuts and new clothing. The high school brought in the most money and won the event day this year. They will receive an out of dress code day and ice cream.

A very big thank you to senior Emma Scheurer, the Mind Over Matter Committee, and our school counselor Mrs. Jenny Garcia for planning and leading our Mental Health Awareness Week activities. It was a fun, exciting, and educational week and helped bring awareness to mental health and informed our students of ways to cope and get help when one is struggling, and how to help and support others who are struggling with mental health issues.

Randy Hodge is the High School Principal at St. Patrick School.

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