By: Vatsala Adavikolanu and Sucharita Desu
Mental health is our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It is something that everyone has and is a part of our daily life, regardless of whether it is positive or negative. Sometimes, the state of our mental health can lead to a mental illness, even if we are still young. In Canada alone, around 1.2 million children are affected by a mental illness. This makes it more important to bring out conversations to make sure everyone is aware and comfortable to get the help they need.
Schools also play a big role in mental health, so we, as Richardson’s Newspaper Club, believe that it is extremely important that mental health is addressed. This year, we have thought of an interactive way to break the stigma around the topic. To help boost the mental well-being of students, we have decided to host an activity through our club’s Instagram, called the “Tree of Life”. You might be thinking, “What’s that?”, so let us quickly explain it.
A “Tree of Life” is basically a paper tree, except the leaves are filled with positive thoughts from students, as well as staff. Each leaf could talk about a variety of things, including upbringing messages, something that makes you happy, and more. As a part of Richardson’s “Tree of Life”, we want you to talk about something you’re grateful for on your leaf. For example, you could write that you are grateful for your family, a pet, a friend, and more. Right now, you may be thinking, “What good is this even going to do?”. Well, it may not seem like much, but the tree of life has been very successful when it was done at daVinci Public School. It even helped bring the school closer together, as more people got the chance to get help, even if it was a small gesture of support. (i.e. anonymous words of kindness).
The impact of this activity can also be helpful at our school. For starters, it represents how connected we are as a school, and community, regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic that has made things far from normal. Moreover, by stating and acknowledging what we are grateful for, we also get the opportunity to reflect on it. This makes us realize how privileged we are, no matter how many small inconveniences ruin our day. This activity also promotes positive thinking and encourages us to focus on the bigger picture, which helps put things into perspective. The main purpose of us hosting this “Tree of Life” activity is to show that Richardson is non-judgmental and genuinely cares about the mental health of our school community.
Since we are currently attending school virtually, we are taking the “Tree of Life” online, during the week of May 17th– 21st. Instead of giving you a leaf, we will be posting a story where you can share what you are grateful for. At the end, we will post a list with all of the answers we receive. If you are interested in participating, make sure to follow the Newspaper Club’s Instagram, @jcrnewspaper, to stay up to date.