By Alice Roche Cody
As part of GSB's Spirit & Wellness Week, which kicks off April 26, the Mental Health Club is leading a school-wide Wellness Walk around campus at 9:45 a.m., Tuesday, April 27. All students can join the 10-minute socially distant stroll to connect with friends and talk with folks they'd like to get to know better.
"We want to get everyone outside – it's a fun walk, and people can choose their own distance," said Sydney Goldberg '22, Mental Health Club co-founder. "It's a great way to raise awareness about mental health issues and to promote our new club."
Anna Gnapp '22, also a club co-founder, noted the strong link between movement and mental health. "Exercise has been shown to improve mental health," she said. "It's important to stay active on campus. We hope the whole student body participates."
To drum up enthusiasm for the walk, the Mental Health Club created a promotional video, featuring GSB community members sharing their thoughts about keeping physically active to help mental health issues. To raise funds for the club, members will be selling GSB sunglasses during Spirit & Wellness Week for $3 a pair or $5 for two pairs.
Also on the week's docket, the Mental Health Club is presenting a speaker on mental health awareness at Monday's Upper School Assembly. Lucas from Minding your Mind will share about his depression that started in high school. During his last semester in college, the disease was so debilitating that he stopped eating. When Lucas reached out to his family for help, they connected him with a doctor who assisted with his recovery.
The Mental Health Club is new to GSB this year; Sydney came up with the idea and approached Anna to help out. "Mental health is a huge issue, especially during the pandemic," said Sydney. "I wanted to do something proactive on campus. People here are more open about mental health, so it's a good environment for students to talk about it."
With Emily Haberman, LCSW, as the club's faculty advisor, the two friends spread the word through a promotional video they created. "It's a popular club, with a lot of juniors and sophomores," said Anna. "We're hoping next year it grows even more and that more freshman join."
Currently, the club has 40 members, but due to pandemic protocols, the entire club cannot meet in person and instead holds rotating subcommittee meetings. One popular club activity was the fall poster drive, where members created positive messages and hung them around academic buildings. Another successful initiative was the February raffle, where club members asked teachers to be on the lookout for students who demonstrated self-care or care for others. Those students received raffle tickets, and the Mental Health Club arranged three amazing self-care baskets that were raffled off at the semester's end.
Through all their efforts, the Mental Health Club co-leaders, Sydney and Anna, hope that other students realize they can reach out to club members if they need to talk. "Our club motto is Communication is Key," said Anna. "We are a resource for our school."