An Interactive Mental Health Day for 8th Graders

Last month, our 5th, 6th, and 7th graders enjoyed a Mental Health Day filled with activities and presentations on the importance of giving your brain time to rest and how to support others who may be experiencing stress or anxiety. At that time, it was not an on-campus week for our 8th graders, so this week our oldest Middle School students were able to experience and enjoy a Mental Health Day of their own.

The students participated in activities and a virtual presentation from CHADS Coalition for Mental Health with time for reflections and learning about what anxiety, stress, and depression can do to minds and bodies. There was something for everyone, from outdoor activities such as washers and a campus hike to indoor amusements such as Minecraft and Writing through the Storm. The day wrapped up with all classes and cohorts watching the classic comedy film The Princess Bride.

The virtual session with CHADS shared the warning signs and symptoms of depression and suicide and the ACT® (Acknowledge, Care, Tell) program. The interactive presentation included a review of mental health resources.

Along with enjoying good weather, teachers and students alike found the day interactive, relaxing, and meaningful to their well-being.

“Mental Health Day was a great success. Students and faculty both felt the day was much needed! The students got to hang out with some peers that they haven’t seen this year and the teachers got to enjoy spending time with the students outside of their academic requirements. I heard lots of laughing and was told that they want to add Mental Health Days to each semester,” shared Taquera Walker, Middle School Counselor.

Callie Bambenek, Middle School Science Teacher remarked, “In the middle of a hectic week filled both with assessments and heavy anticipation of Spring Break, it was wonderful seeing our 8th graders connecting with each other and relaxing for the day. This day meant a lot to students, teachers, and staff alike.”

Andy Kay, 8th grade English Teacher added, “After such an unusual and incredible year, a year that has certainly tested the best of us, it was wonderful to take a moment to step back, take a deep breath, and spend time together in a relaxed environment.”

Additional quotes from students overheard by faculty include:

“I had a good time today.”
“I didn’t think I would like charades but I did!”
“The hike was great.”
“I learned a lot today!”
“It was good to see different people today.”
“I wish we did this more than once a year.”

For a mental health crisis, please contact one of the following:
St. Louis Youth Connection Helpline
Call: 1-877-928-2929 Text: 4HLP to 31658

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Call: 1-800-273-8255 Chat: Suicide Prevention Lifeline