The students of the Stella K. Abraham High School for Girls were presented with an extraordinary program devoted to mental health awareness. Organized by SKA’s Guidance Department and the SKA Student Mental Health Awareness Committee, each day of the week, beginning on Monday, May 24, was dedicated to mental health issues faced by students, based on suggestions made by the SKA girls.

“Don’t Tell Me to Relax” was the theme of Monday’s candid Zoom presentation given by author Sophie Riegel, a young adult who discussed her own journey with mental health, advising strategies for both teenagers and adults on how to help struggling friends and students.  In the afternoon, girls were able to visit displays and listen to fellow students discuss how to deal with anxiety and other issues at a student-run Fair set up in the auditorium.

SKA’s End-of-Year Celebration, held at Adventureland the following day, served as a break from the rigors of school and as a chance for students to self-care and connect with friends.  On Wednesday and Thursday, the students had interactive sessions with Registered Dietitian Mrs. Dalia Abott about “Food, Mood, and Attitude,” touching on eating disorders, body images, and self-esteem, while Wellness Workshops on Thursday focused on resilience, mindfulness, and gratitude.  Friday’s interactive art activity, “Bringing It All Together,” rounded off the SKA Mental Health Week in a very positive way.

Many girls commented on how they felt validated for their concerns and their issues acknowledged.  The hashtag #SKAAGAINSTTHE STIGMA resonated all over the school; an 11th Grader held an impromptu session with her classmates on what it is like to live with anxiety and social issues, and many other students shared their stories throughout the week.

Our sincere thanks go to the SKA Guidance Department – Mrs. Yael Fischman and Ms. Lisa Fogel – and heads of the new student mental health committee: Miri Fein and Batya Rogoff, the 9th, 10th, and 11th grades committee members, and Mrs. Shira Englander, SKA Administrative Coordinator, for implementing this very important program.