Mental Health Awareness Day conducted in Pavilion

Topics included dysregulation and how to cope with anxiety


Mika Merilles, Senior Staff Writer

Distance learning has come to a halt, and in-person school has now been resumed. On March 13, 2020, teenagers across America lived their last COVID-19-free day at school. Stress and anxiety is something that has affected millions of teenage students in America. According to Evolve, 38% percent of female teenagers and 26.1% of male teenagers have an anxiety disorder. 

To bring light to this fact, and in recognition of September’s National Suicide Prevention Month, Mental Health Awareness day was held on Sept. 30th by the Oak Park High School Peer Counseling Department.

Licensed therapist with the Ludington Institute of Family Enrichment Annabelle Wiviott, was the guest speaker. She spoke about the challenges many students are facing returning to on-campus learning and shared mindfulness to deal with moments of unexpected stress. Handouts about suicide warnings and otherresources were given to students who attended. 

“When we’re dysregulated, that’s when it’s hard,” Wiviott said. “Figure out what you need in order to be regulated again.”

Wiviott then shared a way in which students can calm themselves down: a method called controlled hand-breathing. Controlled breathing has a variety of benefits, some of which include helping rid the lungs of accumulated stale air and increasing oxygen levels in the bloodstream. To practice this exercise, nestle one hand with the other one while inhaling and exhaling at the same pace.

“Some other things that can also be helpful are going on a walk and giving yourself a hug,” said Wiviott.

Wviott reassured the students multiple times that each one of them is valid in their struggles.

“You’re not alone. Everyone is going through it in their own way,” said Wiviott.“Reach out.”

Junior and Beginning Peer Counseling Co-President Rachel Driggs prompted students to utilize the club’s helpful resources. 

“Peer Counseling is always open to any and all students. We’re trained on conflict mediation and can help a student find what they need,” Driggs said. “We encourage everyone to come!”