Students support assemblies and seminars to discuss mental health

New Trier seems to offer almost everything a student needs to flourish—from cooking clubs to coding classes, students are presented with an array of activities to choose from. Despite these offerings, some students believe New Trier lacks sufficient discussion of an important topic: mental health.

“I feel like certain areas of mental health—such as dealing with stress—are talked about a lot, but others like social anxiety, eating disorders, and depression aren’t discussed as much,” junior Caroline Bewley said.

In order to address these shortcomings, Bewley stated that mental health conversations should be continued outside of the health class setting.

“When you learn about something in the classroom, you feel removed from the subject, but we as students need to know that we may end up being impacted by mental illness during our high school career, and that’s one-hundred percent normal.”

Student Council has taken a step towards bringing mental health outside of the classroom by posting infographics and tipline advertisements throughout the school. Senior Andrew Moerschel commends Student Council for their efforts.

“In my experience, it is the visual imagery in my everyday commute through the hallways that gives me the reminder to monitor my mental health,” said Moerschel.

Sophomore Joey Stuart believes that New Trier has the resources, but students lack the knowledge of where to obtain them.

“I think we need to encourage people more to go to the counselors or their advisors. Also, I don’t think it would be a bad idea if at the start of the school year, advisories would take time and meet with social workers and counselors at school,” stated Stuart.

Stuart added in correlation with how juniors and seniors meet regularly with their college counselors, students should prioritize their mental health.

Senior Jason Li agreed that more conversation will lead to more awareness. He added that the administration and teachers should prioritize mental health discussions.

“New Trier does not really put in enough time to address mental health. [They] only seem to address it during advisory, and it’s rare for those discussions to even take place. I really hope that we can have more assemblies or advisory sessions talking about mental health,” said Li.

Likewise, Moerschel agreed that the responsibility of provoking conversation falls on the shoulders of the administration and teachers.

“The administration [and teachers] needs to connect the dots between the rigorous coursework, student extracurriculars, and other commitments outside of school,” states Moerschel, “the surveys are not enough. It is important that there is a mutual understanding, regardless of grade level, that there is a significant number of stressor affecting a variety of people in different ways all at once.”

Adding onto more integrated discussions, senior Anya Polonsky proposes mental health days are a must.

“I honestly don’t remember the last time we talked about mental health, and while it’s important to have these conversations, mental health days and de-stress days would be great every now and then,” said Polonsky.