Mental Health Monday

Mental Health Monday
May 2021

"What's on your mind?"
That is exactly what we asked our seventh and eighth-graders this year and apparently, a lot is on their mind... anonymously submitted of course, which prompted more detailed and honest responses (see below). We used these topics as ways to generate meaningful group discussions, spread awareness, promote stronger bonds, and a greater sense of community. The students did awesome participating on all fronts I might add.  
So why did I choose this as the last Mental Health Monday publication for this school year? Well, because I feel strongly that if we believe in community, and the concept that “it takes a village”, and I think we do, when raising our youth, then we need to be creating further opportunities to talk with them, to each other, and better understand what it’s like to grow up today. We also need to be transparent, and this is not just for seventh and eighth-graders, rather, with all students. As we near summer break, I am hopeful that some of these conversations (if not already happening) can continue to occur at home. Or minimally, this helps you get a sense of what some of them are thinking about and attempting to manage in addition to their academics. This has been a notable year for all, and as we reflect on our experiences, I am optimistic that we have learned a thing or two. Mainly, that we need to slow down and communicate more. We need to look towards the future of supporting our youth’s mental health needs strategically, creatively, and promptly with less stigma attached. Most student’s difficulties do not surface from academics, rather from interpersonal and social issues. 
I often remind myself that talking in its simplest form is what separates us from animals and distinguishes us as having superior intelligence. Intelligent people know that the wisest and most beneficial thing in life and relationships are good conversations.   
I am wishing everyone a wonderful end of the school year and summer break. I am proud of our entire Canterbury community for all the great things that took place, despite Covid-19 and in everyone’s resilience this year. Stay Healthy. Go Cougars and congrats to the Class of 2021!  
Respectfully submitted,
Patricia M. DeV​​ost, LCSW
Middle and Upper School Counselor

“All Problems Exist In The Absence of Good Conversation” 
- Thomas Leonard

Seventh & Eighth-grade inquiries submitted for group discussion:  
If a friendship is clearly either falling apart or ending, is it best to let it go even though people around you think it’s better if the two of you are friends again? 

How do you deal with or bring up mental health issues with strict parents? 

How do you control strong emotions, so you don’t embarrass yourself?  

What do you do when you just do not feel like talking to people who happen to be your friends? 

What do you do if your friend is drifting away from you slowly and not interested in you anymore? How do you talk to them about it? 

Is high school more stressful than middle school?  

Some girls don’t include others. Why?  

How do I deal with the stress of balancing homework, friends, and extracurriculars?   

If you know someone who is depressed what do you do?  

How do I stop crying or feeling sad?  

How do you deal with divorce? What are ways to cope?  

Sometimes my friends bring me into the unnecessary drama that I don’t want to be a part of. It is their fight but will make me feel that I have to choose sides. I try my hardest not to pick and then both sides get mad. What do you do?  

How do you deal when you feel like you’re not enough?  

What should I say to friends who just talk to me to start drama that I don’t want to be a part of without offending them?  

How can I best show my teachers that I am trying to get things done but it is hard with all the stuff I have to do? 

I am in a fight with a friend. How should I go about the situation?  

How do you deal with not being able to feel confident in your own skin? 

How do you tell someone you found out what they said about you behind your back without causing drama? 

How do I get enough sleep with my busy schedule and still have time to enjoy myself? 

There is someone who has something against me and as much as I apologize (and I am not even sure what I did) they don’t accept it or talk to me but say rude things about me to others. 

Why do some people brag about having anxiety or depression, like it’s something to be proud of?  Like having mental health issues is something cool? It makes those of us it is true for annoyed. 

I want to know more about eating disorders. 

How hard is the college process? 

I don’t want to share my grades but everyone always asks. 

What do you do if people are mean on social media, inappropriate, or post pictures of you without permission? 


Making the dress code more equal for girls and boys. 

What do you do if you are worried about someone but don’t want them to know you said something to get them help? 

Other topics of discussion: 

Reading the Room 

Everyday Leadership 

Being Yourself - authenticity 

Communication Styles – adults/peers 

Being Better Together 

Compete with yourself not others – Comparison Trap

Girl Up 

How do you deal with over-competitive people?