We believe young people can play a pivotal role in how society – youth and adults – perceives mental illness and to changing generations of misconception and myth about an illness that affects nearly everyone in our society. We’ve learned much these past few years through conversations with thousands of young people in schools throughout Central Massachusetts. What we’ve discovered is that many students are eager to learn more about mental and behavioral health, and to share their acquired knowledge with their friends, peers and even their parents!
Student Wellness Advisory Teams are student-led teams established in high schools throughout Central Massachusetts. Their core focuses are promoting mental wellness and shattering stigma within their community. Student Wellness Advisory Teams receive guidance and instruction from the SHINE Initiative’s Youth Outreach Coordinator. Faculty advisors also play a role to recruit students and to assure that a clear and responsible line of communication is maintained with school administrators.
Through the guidance of the SHINE Initiative, students are encouraged and empowered to create wellness campaigns and activities within their school. These events are fully created and implemented by the young people.
Previous initiatives have included-
– Making and distributing “Stress-Less Kits” for 2,000+ students- these kits included “Quick Tips” to improving your mental health, a two-minute meditation and a few other items
– Refresh Days- periods of time during school days where students can participate in relaxation activities such as aromatherapy, make your own calming jars, make your own stress pets, and participating in a positivity chalk mural
– Poster Contest- using their creativity, create posters promoting mental wellness and awareness
– Caregiver Forums- students share with caregivers what it is like to live with a mental disorder
– Health Fair Tabling- students research topics to educate their peers during their school’s health fair
Teams meet each month (September-May) at the students’ respective schools at a convenient time for students and advisor.
If you would like to establish a Student Wellness Advisory Team (SWAT) at your school, contact the SHINE Initiative at 978-870-1494 or 978-870-1498.