On the first week back from Winter Break, students had the opportunity to participate in two days of special programming focused on mental health, civic engagement, and community fun.
During the second annual Mental Health Teach-In Day, led by the Student Mental Health Collaborative and the GDS Health and Wellness Team, students joined a keynote with suicide attempt survivor Quentin Vennie in the morning followed by their choice of 26 workshops on various topics related to mental health.
PARENTS, check out the list of workshops and let us know what you would choose >>
Workshops were led by faculty members, GDS alumni, and outside experts. High School counselor Gaby Grebski said, “We were trying to expose students to different aspects of mental health, not just mental disorders. We organized sessions around race, gender, food disorders, and issues that tend to be most prevalent among teens, including anxiety and performance.”
Following tailored panels for underclass members (on anxiety) and upperclass members (college transitions), students had the chance to participate in one of more than a dozen “Joyful January” afternoon activities, including cookie baking, “Guyton’s Guac-off,” and canine companionship (with an actual dog!).
Cole Kaplan ’26 reflected on the importance of hearing from a speaker on suicide. He said, “While it took some getting used to, I liked the emphasis on the importance of being willing to talk about mental health.” Cole also noted the clear shift “in tone” to joy in the afternoon activities and thought that balance worked well.
Senior Anna Khoury ’23 appreciated the School’s efforts to highlight mental health. Though she might have preferred a more individualized, direct approach to teaching coping skills and warning signs, Anna explained, she felt it was “a good step in the right direction” to better understand mental health.
“It was a very good event—and very GDS—and it’s clear that people here care about students a lot,” Anna said. “I think finding a way for students to be able to talk to each other about what their experiences have been [with mental health] would be an important next step.”
On Friday morning, students engaged with Igor Bobic, the Huffington Post political reporter who captured the now-famous footage of Officer Eugene Goodman leading rioters away from the Senate chamber, for discussion and a documentary screening. After lunch, students participated in the first-ever Student Org Afternoon, during which they visited club-hosted events or met with their own club.
Thanks to the Student Mental Health Collaborative and their advisors:
Adele Ziemba, Alexa Gillespie, Angelique Faselis, Ava Ginsberg, Ben Fitzpayne, Daria Hoehn-Saric, Gaby Grebski, Hannah Brickman, Isabel Avidon, Julian Montes-Sharp, Lauren Berman, Leia Levine, Michelle McKeever, Natalia Stutman-Shaw, Paige Young, Pilar Holder, Rose Atwood, Sarah Leary, Sophia Ades, Tate Buchwald, and Tenaya Lin