This week, Upper School students participated in conversations and activities to de-stigmatize mental health issues for Love Your Mind Week. Hosted by Peer-to-Peer, students trained in Peer-to-Peer elective classes to be peer helpers, peer educators, and conflict mediators, Love Your Mind Week kicked-off Monday with a dedicated Upper School Town Hall Meeting where students shared testimonials and engaged in open mic discussions. It continued throughout the week with a series of lunchtime activities and conversations.
“Our goal for Love Your Mind week in Peer-to-Peer was to create more open dialogue surrounding mental health at Westridge to foster positive change in the community,” said Sosi D. ’21. “We recognize that mental health is sometimes a hard, vulnerable topic to discuss, but we also realize that the only way to support and to help our peers is to listen to their stories. Open forums like Town Meeting and the lunch talks throughout the week strive to make that possible.”
In the Town Meeting, students addressed a range of topics, including learning differences and what they wish others, including teachers and peers, understood about their unique challenges; mental health diagnosis and feelings about how language about those diagnoses are used (i.e. flippantly saying, “I’m so OCD I cleaned entire room!”); the stress of parental expectations and impact on mental health; and, the impact of stress on mental health in general.
“Many students expressed that having the opportunity to address their peers and their teachers helped them feel seen and heard,” said Dr. Lisa Carruthers, director of counseling and student support. “Though the conversation was, at times, heavy, the discourse was meaningful and respectful.”
The lunchtime programs included Mediation Monday, Workout Wednesday (Zumba), and tomorrow will be Fun Friday (board games)–activities that allow students to take a break, have fun, and connect with each other in a safe space.
Love Your Mind Week has been held for the past several years, based on the success of Love Your Body Week, launched by Peer-to-Peer four years ago to coincide with National Eating Disorder Month.