Does Swell Make the Students Well?


Kav Lakshmi, Reporter

October 10 is internationally known as World Mental Health day and no matter who you are or where you are in life, everyone struggles with their mental health from time to time. World Mental Health day exists to promote awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. People often discuss physical health and physical disabilities, but mental health and mental illnesses are not as evident. So they often get stifled with little conversation about it.


During adolescence, teenagers start to experience the difficulties that come with maintaining their mental health. Issues such as body image, worries about college and grades, and onsets of depression and anxiety can cause an adolescent to experience difficulties they are not used to.


Therefore, to help students with this balancing act, the counseling team at Pres came up with the idea of SWell – a student wellness program meant to teach students about emotional and mental health in order to cope with stress and other difficulties.


The current director, Brittany Tuffnell, says, “Here we’re very academically driven, but we wanted to make sure that we were thinking about emotional well being and providing tools and coping skills to manage the stress that a lot of teenagers are feeling.”


The program started with the class of 2019 and has been growing since. Originally, the program had one SWell collaboration a semester for freshmen, which then grew to two a semester for freshmen and sophomores, and has now grown to two sessions per semester for freshmen and sophomores and one a semester for juniors.


Tuffnell describes the goal of SWell to be the following, “…when [students] have to deal with something that comes up related to one of those topics [we want the students to] have the tools and the coping skills needed to kind of be their own stress manager and kind of be more present in the moment and make the right decision that’s best for them.”


However, the reaction from students may not fit that exact goal.


Anushree Ari, junior, says, “I think the intentions are good. I think that it could be something that’s beneficial for us, but the timing and the way in which we’re receiving…I think it could improve by making it more interesting, having incentives, but, overall, I think the intentions are good.”


Alyssa Reptetti, sophomore, says, “Personally, I think it adds more stress because we have the meetings, so that takes away time that I could be studying.”


“I would have to agree,” Alana De La Torre, junior, says, “…They talk about time management…we could be using this time to study. I feel like it’s self-explanatory things that we learn, but maybe people benefit from it.”


Mental health is a conversation that is often stifled which leads to further difficulties for all people. Educating students and providing them with the right tools to cope with their difficulties is a necessary part of high schools, as students who are better-equipped to live their life to the fullest extent will be more successful in the future.