Pres Takes a Stand for Mental Health

Being a Pres student isn’t always an easy task. When you combine our rigorous classes, championship winning sports teams, award winning clubs, and our natural drive to do everything we possibly can, mental health often takes the backseat.

Things are about to change.

Last year, Pres introduced a student wellness program to teach freshmen life lessons on dealing with stress, handling disappointment, and strengthening a student’s’ social-emotional skills.

Currently, the program has expanded to include  freshmen and sophomores. Students will meet with their mentors four times a year during mandatory after-school collaborations. The first one has already taken place–freshmen focused on time management while sophomores learned about digital citizenship.

“It takes practice to take care of yourself,” said the director of the student wellness program, Britney Tufnell. This program is designed to teach students how to handle life not only at Pres but outside it as well.

Her hope is that the student wellness program changes the way we think about things and that we learn the right coping skills to handle everything life throws at us.

“I’ll apply it to managing time with balancing school and extracurriculars and making sure I don’t use the Internet and social media in any negative way,” said Thuy Anh Tran, sophomore.

Tufnell said she enjoys working with high schoolers because it represents such a pivotal moment in all of our lives. Learning the right skills now, she believes, can affect how we handle challenges in the future.

The struggle with mental health hits close to home for Tufnell and is something she cares deeply about because she struggled with anxiety and depression as a youth. “I wish I had learned the positive coping skills I know now, as an adult,” she said.

“If you’re not putting yourself first and focusing on self care,” she continued, “how can the other areas of your life go smoothly?”

The student wellness program will teach students how to not only cope with life at Pres but will impart life lessons which will be necessary in every stage of life.