Minding Your Mind: A Presentation on Student Well-Being
While the fall has brought many successes for NA students in classes, athletics and the arts, we are also acutely aware of recent events, both locally and nationally, that have impacted their emotional well-being. And, these events remind us of the importance of caring for each other in supportive and empathetic ways. On November 28, a series of presentations by Minding Your Mind
were conducted to educate students, parents and faculty on topics related to mental health issues. The student speakers delivered powerful and effective messages of inspiration and hope based on their personal journeys in coping with mental health issues. This event was sponsored by the Feinberg Multicultural Assembly Fund.
Middle School students heard from Katya Palsi who has struggled with abuse, depression, anxiety and negative coping mechanisms until she sought help. She talked about the importance of physical and mental well-being, consent and the importance of having choices. When parents engage their children in the decision-making process, they can learn how to say no and make choices for themselves. NA Middle School students also learned what depression looks like and how to recognize the signs in themselves or in friends.
After the presentation, students wrote down their takeaways from the “Minding your Mind” presentation on one side of an index card and on the other side, they listed three-five people that they could reach out to for help.
Upper School students heard from Minding Your Mind’s Director of Development Andrew (Drew) Bergman, who first became involved with the organization as a high school speaker. Reflecting on his own journey suffering from depression and attempting to commit suicide twice (once in seventh grade and once in tenth), he shared information about what mental illness looks like and positive and negative coping methods.
It wasn’t until his sophomore year, after his second suicide attempt, that things began to improve. Drew found support from his guidance counselor who helped him understand how to deal with his mental illness and take care of himself by managing his stress, sleep and diet, as well as ensuring he exercised. One year after his second suicide attempt, Drew reached a turning point in his recovery after he delivered a speech to his peers about his battle with depression, hoping to increase awareness about mental health. “That’s the day my recovery really started and I began to feel better,” said Drew.
He reminded students that there is a community of support at Newark Academy – from parents to teachers to staff to friends – and it’s important to look out for each other.
Faculty members heard from Drew as well and, parents also took part in a discussion about mental health at an evening event co-sponsored by NAPA.