Counselors host Mental Health & Wellness Week on campus


Katy Clark

The poster with all the things people do for wellness is displayed in the atrium outside of the library.

Katy Clark and Kazuya Yasui

To celebrate May being Mental Health Awareness Month, on the week of May 9, the counselors put together activities all week to promote wellness and relaxation. Coinciding with the week of AP tests, the counselors hoped to remind students to take a deep breath and do things for the benefit of their own mental health. 

“I think it’s important to highlight mental health, especially during the week of AP testing when so many students are stressed out about their exams and grades. It’s a good reminder that taking care of yourself is just as important as grades, if not more important,” said Juhi Goyal (‘24).

All throughout the week, therapy dogs were seen on the quad, where students could come up to them, pet, and play with them. Animals such as dogs are shown to have a calming effect on many people, and these dogs helped students when they needed something to hug, or something furry to pet. 

“I think the therapy dogs really helped as a distraction because I pet them before one of my AP exams, and they are just a way to find comfort,” said Aubrey Tran (‘23).

On Monday, the counselors put together crayons and colored pencils and invited students to the wellness center to color mandalas, flowers, and other patterns found in adult coloring books. Coloring is a low stakes activity that reminds students that perfection is not the most important thing, and it allows them to channel their creativity into something relaxing. 

On Tuesday, students and teachers alike donned their picnic blankets and ate lunch on the grassy hill by the senior cafeteria. Many times, school life is moving at a fast pace, and if one takes the time to slow down, enjoy nature, be with their friends, and eat a good meal, it can have a positive impact on one mentally. 

The counselors also gave back to the students during Mental Health Awareness week with little gifts and opportunities to show gratitude. On Wednesday, the counselors set up a booth by the C building where they told students to write down one thing they do for wellness. In return each participant received a goody bag full of fidget toys and things they might have not seen since childhood.

In each goody bag, students got many fidget toys such as play dough, a marble fidget toy, and bubbles. (Katy Clark)

“I think the bags helped encourage students to think about how they could help with their mental health. The things inside [the bags] are really helpful and stress relieving and I find myself using these things on a daily basis instead of doing stuff [when I am stressed] that is not helpful for my own body. I use these things as a way to relieve any tension,” said Tran.

Students also had the opportunity to show appreciation towards their peers as well on Thursday with Gratitude Grams. Students wrote to others who had perhaps helped out on their homework, or to the teacher of a class they really enjoy, or even to a friend they enjoy hanging out with. It allowed students to show gratitude to people they usually don’t show gratitude to that much. 

“[Gratitude Grams] allowed me to reflect on who I was really thankful for, and I really enjoyed that. I wrote to one of my teachers that I am really thankful for. I also hope that I am able to receive one too.” said Sumaya Ahmed (‘24).

For those looking to do physical activity to calm their anxiety, on Thursday in the Wellness Center, the counselors also rolled out their yoga mats and invited kids to come in and do yoga exercises that calm the mind and body. 

“Exercise [is a] great way to expel nervous energy in the body and relieve tension. Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators,” said counselor Jennifer Yu.

To round out the week, on Friday, kids were encouraged to break out their pajamas and other comfy clothing. This added comfort to people’s day and was a nice ending to a successful week dedicated to self care and relaxation. For more resources on how to deal with mental health, visit the counselors website, or take a trip to Amador’s Wellness Center.