More Than Sad

by Julia Andrawis '21

During these trying times, it is vital that we discuss the importance of mental health. There have been many drastic changes that have affected students globally and it is essential that St. Johns Country Day School aids its students in discovering healthy coping mechanisms for the inherent stress which the pandemic brings. 

The month of September is Suicide Prevention Awareness month. Using resources from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the topic of suicide prevention will be presented to the Upper School and Grade 8 students with the supervision and assistance of Director of Student Services Ms. Diane Landers and Student Services Specialist Mrs. Amy Johnson. Students will have the opportunity to learn and understand the signs of a struggling peer through the viewing of a video, “More Than Sad,” and supplemental worksheets. Students are the first to know when another student is struggling, therefore it is critical that we provide high school and eighth grade students with adequate resources. 

Due to the pandemic, many students are in need of mental health support. Rising rates of depression and anxiety have overwhelmed schools and societies across the world. Countless young adults have gained a feeling of helplessness accompanied by uncertainty, leading to decline in mental health. Without proper support, students can become extremely vulnerable and gain a sense of immense loneliness. Providing resources that can help struggling students is pivotal during these uncertain times. 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, individuals are at higher risk for suicide during this global pandemic. St. Johns Country Day School believes that it is paramount that our students gain emotional and mental support from their peers and their teachers. By creating a welcoming and open environment, students will have the ability to share their own personal difficulties, as well as the struggles they have seen amongst their peers. Educating students about available resources and how to help in difficult situations is key during the coronavirus crisis. Led by our counselors, the facilitation of open and healthy conversations concerning mental health can improve the overall wellbeing of students. 

With a strong implementation of healthy coping mechanisms, students can better understand how to deal with stress and how to help others that are faced with difficult situations. At St. Johns, teachers and administrators alike wish to create an environment where students feel protected and welcome to share their personal struggles without fear of disapproval. By discussing the very real consequences of a declining mental health, young adults can be better equipped for any situation that they may encounter. 

St. Johns Country Day School believes it is imperative for our students to be knowledgeable about mental health during these demanding times. Guidelines and procedures will be followed to ensure the safety of students while discussing this difficult subject. It can be very hard for young adults to grasp the serious implications of declining mental health. With the help of St. Johns’ counselors, students will be adequately prepared to handle any situation that might arise.