We need to act now to improve well-being
Students must help administration find ways to support their health.
October 12, 2018
Over the summer, Lab Schools administrators and counselors began the first of many conversations on a complicated topic. They began reviewing the results of the Student Health and Wellness Survey administered to middle and high school students last spring.
With actual statistics rather than just anecdotes, they are now able to measure mental health, relationship, and physical health problems more closely. However, this information is of little use if no action is taken. Thankfully, administrators has said the conversation will be open to middle and high school students. Through discussions in advisories, assemblies, classrooms, focus groups and in committees, students have the opportunity to actively participate in conversations about their health. And they need to take it.
The school took an important step in administering a survey about pervasive issues that students face. However, all they have is data, which, while essential, needs to be put into context. Ensuring a more supportive community is now also in the hands of students. We need to share our experiences with the current levels of stress, anxiety, considerations of suicide, drug and alcohol use, and more to bridge the gap between what we need and what can be done to ease these threats to our mental and physical well-being.
The administrators can do their best to take measures for our well-being, but without our voices, they cannot understand the nuances of what we are experiencing. That piece is critical to learning from each other and for the adults in our community to learn from us. We need their support, but they cannot come close to helping us if they cannot understand where our stress is rooted and why it manifests itself the way it does.
Students of all backgrounds and abilities need to show up at conversations and engage with them with purpose. Instead of passively listening or treating these conversations like a chore, take the opportunity to help the school help you. Even if you
are not directly experiencing the stress or problems discussed, listen to your peers and make sure you are contributing to fostering a safe environment for them.
The problems facing our student body cannot be fixed overnight, and we need to be patient with the administration as they figure out how best to help us. But most of all, we need to recognize that whatever help we need has to be addressed by us as well.
This editorial represents the opinion of the Midway’s Editorial Board.