Opinion: The Flaws in Morgan’s Mental Health Campaign

How Morgan Could Improve

Mental health concerns are prevalent in the lives of teenagers. Whether it’s puberty or outside sources, it changes our lives and our outlooks. The issue we mainly have is navigating these new emotions, and understanding what they are. It could be something as simple as being anxious for a test, or something more difficult to manage like an undiagnosed mental illness.
When trying to understand these topics, it’s important for our developing brains to have a proper outlet and to make sure we have someone we can talk to about our problems, someone who isn’t our age. While it’s nice to talk about it with our friends, they can’t always give us the advice we need or want. It’s difficult to do, but when we get the right help, we can get proper advice.
Here at Morgan, we have a well-sized team of mental health professionals: three psychologists, two social workers, four guidance counselors, and we also have Donna Oliviari from CHC, who’s a licensed therapist and social worker. On top of all of the professionals, we have the newly introduced concept of Wellness Wednesday. Wellness Wednesday is supposed to give us an opportunity to relax and get in touch with our emotions or have time to talk to our peers about what’s currently going on in our lives.

The unfortunate thing about all of this is that no one takes it seriously. Time and time again, we are made to read or watch presentations on mental health and told it’s our responsibility to keep our peers alive, meanwhile, we’re trying to do the same for ourselves. While we’re told how to prevent the spread of self-harm, the videos we watch cause people to possibly relapse into hurting themselves again. While it might seem helpful, it actually does more harm than good.

I spoke with Principal Keri Hagness about what we could do to improve, and I posed the idea of providing a pass-fail option for students who are actually trying but are still having a hard time, and she said  “What works for one doesn’t always work for another. Like, what are the conditions? Learning is at the forefront, not time. Each situation is handled in a way that we say ‘here are your options.’ Mrs. Hagness said “We try to have a better approach for the families and students. The idea is never wanting to give up on anyone.”

She also told me about Husky Health Day. It’s a whole day focused on wellness, where there are different activities and sessions to join in on. Mrs. Hagness said it’s supposed to feel more organic, unlike the feel of any program we’ve had at the school. There’s supposed to be a sense of community, joy, and fun. Plus, when asked about therapy dogs, she said it was a possibility. 

I do appreciate her willingness. However, one thing I noticed is that she continued to talk about Wellness Wednesday as something that’s a work in progress. Mrs. Hagness is an amazing principal, but obviously, everything has room for improvement. I believe, personally, that WW should’ve been more thought out, so that way we didn’t have the drop-off of care that occurred so quickly at the start of the year. It shouldn’t be something we make up as we go, considering it’s based on an effort to make students’ lives easier. Mental health and school directly impact one another. If one starts to falter, so does the other, and we’re caught in a cycle that seems neverending. Morgan isn’t the best school, but it could be better by making small steps to insure our focus isn’t solely on academics. The more focus we put into the students, the higher improvement we’ll see in academics because of how heavily they play into each other