Dr. Shannon Sweitzer, Director of Counseling + Wellness
Over the past few years, our children's increased mental health challenges have been well documented. Across the country, the rates of childhood depression and anxiety have sky-rocketed and our youth seem more stressed and less connected to others.
As a result, the idea of a “Wellness Week” was born.
The opportunities offered during Wellness Week were geared towards promoting positive emotions, building connections with others, and encouraging positive coping strategies. While some programming was associated with mental health, we also deliberately incorporated activities related to positive psychology to demonstrate that daily lifestyle choices, such as gratitude and personal interactions, increase happiness and well-being.
While students enjoyed all of last week’s activities, we received the most positive feedback about Rylee from Minding Your Mind and the tech-free lunch/PAWS. Rylee shared her personal journey of mental health challenges and recovery, stressing that asking for help is not a sign of weakness. She described benefiting from incorporating coping strategies such as gratitude, mindfulness, psychotherapy, exercise, and focusing on things within her control. During our Tech free period, students were encouraged to participate in teacher-led activities such as meditation, yoga, watercolors, and DIY aromatherapy rollers or to use the time to talk with one another face-to-face and without electronics.
[ Click here for complete photo gallery highlighting events from the week]
There are many people who I’d like to thank. First, as soon as Julie DiBenedetto heard my Wellness Week vision, she was all in. Julie has been invaluable in helping brainstorm, organize, and facilitate activities. Next, thank you to division heads, who eagerly supported wellness week and helped think through the logistics and small details. I’d also like to thank our Middle School counselor, Liz Corrente, who facilitated Middle School activities, our faculty and staff for their support and participation, and finally, Upper School parents who donated more cookies than I could have ever imagined. My heart has been warmed by the student, faculty, and family response to Wellness Week.