Newton South Guidance Staff Speaks Out on Topics of Mental Health and Emotional Wellness

Photo by Sam Lee

By Newton South’s Faculty Emotional Wellness Team

Mental Health Awareness Month reminds us of the strength and courage individuals utilize when seeking support for mental health disorders. In addition, the counseling department believes that this month offers us the opportunity to reflect upon achieving emotional wellness as a protective factor.

No matter our age, or our position in the Newton South community, we can all strive for emotional wellness within our own selves.

Furthermore, we would all benefit from creating communities– at home, in school, in our activities– that foster collective health and happiness, as well as an environment that actively embraces conversations about mental health.

Earlier this school year, the newly formed Faculty Emotional Wellness Team gathered and worked to define the different layers of emotional wellness. The following list represents just a few of the ideas that were generated at that time:

1) Having a sense that you can get through anything– a general confidence or faith that you can access both your internal and external resources and manage any challenge that comes your way

2) Believing in the value of each aspect of your identity

3) Feeling empowered to bring about meaningful and positive change in your life and in the lives of others

4) Being fully present and engaged with the people in your communities

5) Validating your own struggles as real and knowing what steps you can take to obtain support for yourself whenever you experience difficulties

6) Having a healthy perspective– being able to put who you are and what you’re going through in perspective when thinking about others and what their reality looks and feels like

7) Being flexible and open to trying a new approach to a situation

8) Being willing and able to identify when you may have a problem that is negatively impacting your functioning and having the courage to set aside the time and energy to obtain help– whether it’s through reaching out to friends, family, a mentor, teacher, counselor, therapist, doctor, etc.

9) Being able to ask for and accept help and having faith that someone else has something valuable to offer you as you work toward accomplishing a goal or trying feeling better

10) Being prepared to think about action steps that could help whenever you’re faced with a challenging time or moment

11) Having an awareness of how your behaviors may be impacting the other people around you in your various communities

12) Be able to be pragmatic when faced with a difficult situation- pausing, reflecting, and asking, “OK, what do I need in this moment?”

13) Being able to make healthy and informed decisions, either on your own or by leaning on the members of your support team (family, friends, doctors, mentors, family friends, etc.)

14) Staying balanced in our view of things and being able to resist “all or nothing” thinking that can easily lead to dead ends

15) Practicing self-awareness– knowing what brings you happiness, balance, etc. in your life and how can you make time for those things