The school administration and Student Government Association (SGA) are transforming the empty room next to the college and career center into a new room dedicated towards the mental health of students. The idea was born when Dr. Bonitatibus visited Raisbeck Aviation High School in Washington state back in the fall of 2019.
“We [the administration] began having conversations with SGA about having places to go for relaxation, and there have been a lot of broad conversations about whether it needs to be in just one place. One would think that there are multiple places around the school that we could go to just chill a little bit and relax.” Dr. Bonitatibus said.
One of the main problems that the administration and SGA encountered during the preliminary planning stages of the mental health room was creating a mental health room that would benefit everyone who wanted to use it. Mainly, they questioned whether to create a room with an emphasis on fun, with table-top games such as air hockey, or a room focused for rest.
“So we had two main concepts. We had a more rec room sort of idea and a more relaxed and chill room sort of idea;we ultimately decided that we already have a bunch of activities such as volleyball or tennis during eighth period that would be good for people who wanted to do a more active sort of fun and decided to do a more relaxing and chill room. We have comfy couches, we have board games; mostly we’re trying to do less electronic use and more fun relaxing things,” project manager senior Grace Weisman-Fleischer said.
Several schools across America already implement a mental health room that students can drop by whenever they feel the need to take a breather.
“I could envision that we have a long class change time, so depending on where something is, it could be that you just slip in there for a couple minutes just to enjoy some spa music playing or something, or it could be during lunchtime. It could be something that you sign up for 8th period. So, I think there are a lot of possibilities that we’re really open to, it’s just a matter of figuring it all out.” Dr. Bonitatibus said.
Next Wednesday, Jan. 22, SGA will be hosting an open forum during lunch for all students. This room is still in its planning and designing stages, and students are encouraged to attend and provide any suggestions or ideas regarding the room.
“We’re trying to create a room for students to relax in. Let me be clear, it’s not a student wellness room. Students, teachers, faculty, staff, anyone is welcome to use the room as a space to relax and rejuvenate on a day when it’s really busy.” SGA president senior Ronith Ranjan said. “It would be my dream come true if every student in the school came to give their input. No joke. This room can only be successful if every year we get an input on making this room a better place. We don’t want just a room with comfy chairs for no one to use. So, of course, all students please come to the SGA open forum on Wednesday.”