By SOPHIA MARSHALL AND ASHLEIGH TOMKINS IB1
One in four people will be affected by a mental health disorder in their lifetime. That is a fairly shocking statistic, yet discussion around mental health is still a taboo subject. Education and awareness are the first steps to improving mental health in Bermuda.
Teenagers today are arguably under more pressure than they were 10 years ago; with the influence of social media, and an ever increasing pressure to “do it all”. The pressure to look a certain way and to get the top grades in school has become a major factor in their lives. There is also added pressure to excel at various extra-curricular commitments that have become a necessity for a good college application. It is no surprise that the majority of teenagers suffer from lack of sleep, which can harm brain development and their overall well-being.
At BHS we are very fortunate to have a full time Guidance Counsellor on hand. Mrs. Niamah Denbrook-Cann offers confidential advice and is available to students during the school day and after school hours to discuss anything from stress, relationship / peer problems and family issues. Group counselling is also available. She piloted a new two month programme called “The Mindfulness Group” which began in January, with the aim to make it available to Primary students and also as a co-curricular activity for Secondary students. Meeting during Y11 form time in the morning, the goal of the group is to teach the girls about how to be present and aware of their surroundings, emotions and thoughts in a non-judgmental way. Mrs. Denbrook-Cann took part in training, and this initiative is another step that BHS is taking to nurture the whole individual, as opposed to just looking at education as a solely academic pursuit.
We believe students would benefit from schools promoting healthy living further, through initiatives such as morning yoga. It could be as simple as arranging a brief period for students to relax and unwind before their hectic school day, or having a class outside in the fresh air once a week rather than sitting behind a desk for hours all day. Some universities have even brought in puppies for the students to play with, in an attempt to relieve exam pressures – what a great idea!