In working with my students and their families, there are a variety of resources available to them for mental health supports: referrals to community agencies, support groups, classroom lessons, parent workshops, as well as therapy and counseling through private insurance or community clinics.
Yet, I felt there was a need for our entire school community to address the mental health needs of our school. We needed a common language to help each other become mentally healthy.
We needed an avenue to allow students, parents, and staff to do mental health check-ins with one another. Through the collaboration of our school counseling staff and several student, parent, and staff groups on campus Wellness Wednesday was born.
It was decided the objectives of Wellness Wednesday would be to encourage staff, students, and parents to manage their mental wellness to help handle stress, relate to others, and make choices, to be examples of kindness to boost morale and increase care and compassion in our school community, and promote self-care for overall positivity to boost confidence and self-esteem.
Wellness Wednesday consists of a weekly message including a self-care tip and a kindness challenge. Self-care is crucial for our physical, emotional and mental well-being. In order for our students, parents, and staff to be the best they can be for each other, they have to take care of themselves first. Kindness is very important in creating a sense of community and belonging. One act of small kindness can release an enormous chain of positive events. It is important for students, parents, and staff to feel we are a part of the same community, working towards the same goal of mental wellness.
For volume two of Wellness Wednesday for the School Year, I decided to include a positive affirmation as well. We are our own first cheerleader, our own "hype person". We have to believe in ourselves first. Take care of ourselves first. Praise ourselves first. Doing so allows us to radiate that positivity to others.
Wellness Wednesdays messages are shared weekly via school email to all students, parents, and staff. Social media posts on the weekly topics are also shared. Our school news is creative in producing programming on the Wellness Wednesday topics. Teachers have also used the Wellness Wednesday topics for teachable moments in their classrooms.
Of all the programs and services I have implemented as a school counselor, Wellness Wednesday has been the most well received. Staff has shared with me how much Wellness Wednesday has made an impact in their classrooms, but also in their personal lives and in their own families. Parents have shared that Wellness Wednesday is part of their family life. The messages are on their fridge, parents will send text reminders of the day’s message, and the topics have become table talk at dinner. Several other schools in our school district has also implemented Wellness Wednesday, as well as our district office.
This book is my gift to my fellow educators who, in a small yet powerful way, can spread kindness and help others with self-care in your respective classrooms and campuses. The Wellness Wednesday calendar is modeled after a year-long school schedule, yet feel free to adapt the messages that
best fit you and your school.
Creator of WllnssWdnsdy