By Jasmine Hsu
Carmel High School recently held its second Culture of Care week, an initiative dedicated to raising awareness for mental health issues among students.
“We saw an increase in student counseling visits and communication concerning mental health, specifically anxiety and depression,” said Rachel Cole, CHS director of counseling. “The increase in those that suffer from anxiety and depression is a nationwide issue, and we wanted to connect our students, staff and families with resources and supports that are available to our CCS community.”
School counselors created a week-long program to improve students’ outlook and thinking about everyday life. Each day had a dress-up theme and a short exercise related to mindful thinking before the start of class.
For example, on one day students were encouraged to wear blue and gold to show school pride. In classes, students were asked to talk to someone around them about topics ranging from gratitude to compassion. During lunch ,CHS partnered with Love on the Leash, a pet therapy organization, to bring dogs for students to pet.
“It’s really good for your heart rate to interact with dogs,” said Karen Naber, a Love on the Leash volunteer. “Seeing the smiles on the kid’s faces when they see the dogs melts my heart, and it’s truly amazing to see the effects they have on a person.”
The activities put on by the CHS Counseling Center were designed to draw students into thoughtful and caring conversations.
“We want students, parents and teachers to feel safe, know what resources are available to them, how to reach out for help to others and know we care about them,” Cole said. “We want our community of learners to understand coping strategies for stress, relate to others and make healthy choices with a focus on resilience.”
For more, contact Rachel Cole at email@example.com.