Improving Mental Wellness at North Polk


Coloring was one of the options for students to choose for their three sessions during the mental health afternoon.

Olivia Moody, Newspaper Editor

Schools nationwide are trying to find ways to teach their students how to balance their mental wellness with school work and extracurriculars. North Polk is no different, on Friday, April 7, the high school hosted a mental health afternoon for students to participate in activities that help alleviate stress. 

While many would point to high school administration for planning the mental wellness day, it was actually proposed by the mental health initiative members: Kalven Owen, Sydney Houston, Olivia Moody, Susan Krantman and Jacob Wolfe. 

The school-funded initiative members to attend a conference last November in Washington, D.C. focused on encouraging students to help solve problems within their schools that revolve around mental wellness. 

At the conference, the initiative pinpointed certain issues that the school could work on, such as overcommitting to different extracurriculars and clubs at school, as well as academic burnout. To help educate students about these topics, the initiative wanted to have different stations during the mental health afternoon. The objective was to teach students how to manage workloads, get advice from recent graduates on the activities that helped them most after high school and other activities centered around how to identify stressors and ways students would be able to work on diminishing them. 

“I think mental health days are important because it gives kids resources to use after high school to help them to cope with their mental health and stress,” stated initiative member Houston. 

The high school administration decided to take over the mental health day planning and decided to turn it into an afternoon of activities centered around, not necessarily learning how to manage stress, but finding ways to distract students from their stressors. Some stations offered were yoga, reading, bracelet making, and board games.

Students reflected on their time during the mental health afternoon. 

Neah Bunkers stated, “I think that this (mental health day) is important because after a long day of school, you just want to do something to relax, like coloring, is a good way to relieve stress and clear your mind.”