Making time for mental health: Students attend wellness day workshops


Zachary Kurtz, Staff Writer

From student and faculty-led workshops to rock painting, the school’s Wellness Day on Wednesday spread awareness about the importance of self-care. 

The Counseling and Guidance Department organized the event with help from co-leaders of the Wellness Initiative Club (WIC) Kate Bown (12) and Emily Marks (12), as well as club member Avani Khorana (10).

Wellness Day activities and workshops took place in the Wellness Tent outside of Olshan Lobby and the Multicultural Center from B through H period.

In line with the day’s theme, the library coordinated snacks and handed out stickers and stress balls during break, Upper Division Library Department Chair Caroline Bartels said. Dance teacher Denise DiRenzo hosted a yoga session during break as well.

Upper Division faculty members ran a variety of craft activities throughout the day including knitting, cross-stitching, crocheting, and rock painting, Bown said.

The art activities were calming and enjoyable, Upper Division Director of Counseling and Guidance Daniel Rothstein said. “The goal is really helping, teaching, and giving students a taste of concrete things that actually can help reduce stress.”

Myra Singh (11) attended a knitting workshop on Wellness Day, she said. The activity helped relieve stress, she said.

In addition to the craft activities, students and faculty members ran a variety of workshops on topics related to wellness. Psychology teacher Kristen Yael Flatto’s Psychology class led workshops on depression, anxiety, positive psychology, and eating disorders, she said. 

Rothstein appreciates when students volunteer to lead workshops about topics that they care about, he said. “I’m always inspired by how invested students are in the topic, how interested, how brave some of them are in talking about some of the things that they’ve gone through and what’s helped them.”

 Bown and Marks worked behind the scenes to ensure that everything ran smoothly, Bown said. “It was just a lot of contacting people and coming up with ideas for how we can make it work with the limited time and resources that we have.”

Wellness Day brings attention to the stress students experience due to schoolwork and extracurriculars, Khorana said. The day shows students that they are not alone in mental health struggles, and that there are people here in the community to support them, she said.

Wellness Day reminds the community that they must consider and appreciate their own health on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level, psychologist Dr. Ian Pervil wrote. Self-care is especially important during a pandemic because many individuals are dealing with anxiety, loss, and sadness, he wrote. “How can we take care of others, participate in community, strive for our goals, or celebrate our accomplishments if we don’t take care of ourselves, too?”

Pervil hopes students interacted with Wellness Day to the best of their ability, whether they simply tried out a mindfulness tip or attended a workshop, he wrote. “It has been even harder to make time and have mental space for wellness.”

Even though this is her last year at the school, Bown knows that Wellness Day will continue for years to come, she said. “I really want people to remember that despite the circumstances, no matter how difficult things get, these practices and these mindsets aren’t going anywhere,” Bown said. “They’re always something that we can rely on as individuals and as community members to just keep going and to know that everything’s going to be okay.”