Wellness Committee Talks Mental Health

Laura Dupuis, Features Editor

Last Wednesday, the MGRSD Wellness Committee, which includes representatives from Lanesborough Elementary School, Williamstown Elementary School, Mount Greylock, the School Council, and members of the community met. Members work with the schools in the district to improve student wellness. 

The committee meets once every few months in order to discuss students’ mental and physical health and what the schools and community can do to improve students’ wellbeing by changing the curriculum or implementing important health initiatives. 

In this particular meeting, students’ mental health was the main topic of discussion. The majority of students experience a large amount of stress and anxiety surrounding school, grades, and extracurricular activities, while still trying to balancing a social life and family on top of that. 

Representatives from the elementary schools described how Morning Meetings help students to settle into the learning environment. A daily scheduled Drop Everything And Read (DEAR) time also allows students to take a calm break after a long day of school, which helps students’ mental health. Ben Burdick, the new Williamstown Elementary School Physical Education teacher, has implemented yoga into his curriculum. Particularly in the morning, Burdick explains that yoga can help to adjust students to the school environment, as well as improve their overall mental health. 

Mount Greylock has implemented several initiatives as well. Relaxation Wednesdays during Directed Study, lead by Peer Team and librarian Liza Barrett, give students an opportunity to step away from their busy schedules. Students can choose to take a breath by doing a relaxing activity, such as coloring. Physical Education teacher Lynn Jordan also teaches a wellness class to help students improve their mental health. 

The committee also discussed what can be done to continue to improve students’ mental health. Many students are not aware of how to safely (without the use of drugs, alcohol, or other related substances) soothe their anxiety and stress. Therefore, committee members discussed ways to give students tools that can reduce stress and anxiety, as well as outside resources that students can utilize.