On the week of Jan. 9-13, TJ Minds Matter hosted its annual Mental Wellness Week. Consisting of a week-long campaign to promote mental health in the Jefferson community, the club organized many activities from Pajama Day to a banner signing that students could participate in.
By allowing students to engage in interactive activities, the event aimed to improve students’ awareness of issues regarding mental health and end common misconceptions surrounding mental illness.
“These activities bring to attention that these are issues people might not even know about or sometimes people just forget with all the things they have to do [such as] homework, grades, class work, extracurriculars,” senior and co-president of TJ Minds Matter Rahul Batra said. “By having these activities and having signs around the school people become of aware of their own mental health.”
Each day highlighted a specific theme. By focusing in on a certain aspect of mental health each day, the club hoped to provide students with a larger understanding of what can create a healthy mind. For example, on Tuesday students came to school dressed in pajamas to emphasize the importance of a good night’s sleep. To stress the significance of staying active, on Wednesday students took part in playing Just Dance in the Nobel Commons. On Friday during eighth period, students could sign a banner pledging to address mental health within Jefferson.
“We try to inform people of different techniques they can use. Perhaps try allotting a certain amount of time for homework and a certain amount of time for a break in between or try setting up a bed time for yourself,” Batra said. “Regarding mental illness, it’s always something to keep in the back of your mind so you can take care of yourself if you ever have these issues you’ll be prepared to handle them.”
Throughout the week, the club also suggested specific strategies to maintain a healthy balance between work and play. Many students found these suggestions helpful and learned new ways to combat stress.
“[Mental Wellness Week] has made me more aware of the mental health issues that are in the school and it has helped me learn about how to deal with mental health,” freshmen Sophia Wang said.
This year, the club worked hard to make the week more helpful in regards to educating students. Although the week was still meant to be relaxing, it included more information that could support students in the future.
“Last year what happened was that Stress Less, Laugh More week and Mental Wellness Week were similar in that it was mostly tailored around fun activities. This year [during Mental Wellness Week] we are trying more to address the concerns of mental health and why people should take care of their own mental health,” Batra said. “So how we’re solving that is by providing a lot of information, getting the message out, and giving people suggestions. And that’s a better way we can help people protect their own mental health.”