Spotlight on Mental Well-Being

Mental Health Awareness Month offered opportunities for dedicated mental well-being programming throughout January. Activities shone a spotlight on the unique mental health challenges that can affect men and boys and the student support available at the school. 

Some program elements involved outlets for students to release stress and energy. “In Middle and Upper Schools, space was made available in the gym and the library for boys to do physical activity, play board games, and read or listen to music,” says Gina Kay, Executive Director of Crescent Student Services. During assemblies and Mentor Groups, boys participated in activities that provided various ways to promote mental well-being, including healthy eating, mindfulness, and strategies to manage stress. 

Grade 12 student Ollie Jones produced a video featuring his fellow grads sharing personal stories about their mental health challenges and coping mechanisms. “They shared some of their struggles with authenticity and vulnerability,” says Kay. “They were talking about things most students could relate to, like being nervous for a test or experiencing intense emotions. It was very relatable.” The video was shown during Upper and Middle School Mentor Groups and during the screening, “You could hear a pin drop in the room,” says Kay.

Upper School science teacher Mike Lorenz spoke about mindfulness at Lower and Middle School assemblies, describing it as a useful skill everyone can practice and improve if they set their minds to it. He led the groups in three mindfulness exercises to help distract a racing mind: breathing, noticing sounds, and noticing visual stimulation. “Every student and staff member was completely focused and engaged in his presentation,” says Kay. 

Therapy dogs from Corporate Canine Therapy visited Crescent for one of the most popular activities of the month across all divisions. The boys got to meet and interact with various gentle dogs trained to help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve an individual’s emotional state.