How Saugus Teachers Prioritize Mental Health

Saugus+teachers+Kaitlin+Holt%2C+Monica+Lunde+and+Melody+Pellegrin+share+how+they+prioritize+mental+health+

Photo by The Scroll

Saugus teachers Kaitlin Holt, Monica Lunde and Melody Pellegrin share how they prioritize mental health

Alice Mancilla, The Scroll, Op-Ed Editor

Throughout the past several years, more people have been acknowledging the mental health of themselves and others. Society tends to target teenagers to recognize mental health and there is not as much spotlight for adults. Saugus teachers have spoken about keeping mental health a priority throughout the school year.

 Multiple teachers have described the importance of being aware of your mental health and to always put your health first. Saugus English teacher, Melody Pellegrin, explained that, “Acknowledging mental health is so important, otherwise, it is like living in a prison inside your own body and mind.” By recognizing emotions, we become stronger and better people. Although it may not be easy to ask for help or to talk to someone, it is a necessity.

 Choir teacher and wellness coordinator, Kaitlin Holt also described the significance of addressing mental health problems: “Acknowledging mental health is so important because it is just like physical health. When left unmonitored or ignored it can lead to life-threatening illness.” A person should always recognize their emotions and the situations they are in for their health and safety. 

Teachers have found many ways to reduce stress and anxiety by finding out what is helpful towards themselves. Saugus math teacher, Monica Lunde clarifies that reducing stress and anxiety “can come in different forms.” She went on to say,“Personally, I believe that self care is doing something that is good for you and those around you.” Lunde suggests physical, connecting, and mental activities to improve mental health. Activities like yoga, exercises, puzzles, reading, and spending time with people that can improve mood are great ways to prioritize personal care. 

Holt explained that breathing exercises are helpful as well: “You can breathe in slowly, counting to ten, through your nose, and then breathe out slowly, counting to ten, through your mouth.” According to Uofmhealth.org, breathing exercise helps relax the brain and reduce stress. These are only some of the many ways any person can spend some time to improve their mental health each day.

Teachers have also recommended that students should “be more active in their mental health by opening up and talking about their struggles,” advises  Pellegrin. It is extremely important for all people to communicate to one another about their emotions and stresses. Pellegrin said that, “Everyone deals with their own set of emotions, anxieties, stresses, and hurt, so if you feel like you are alone [..] stop pretending that everything is okay if it isn’t. Please speak to someone about it.” 

Many people throughout many age groups struggle with burying their emotions, which is damaging to mental health. Another way to stay active with mental health is by “fighting the stigma surrounding it” said Holt. For many years, mental health has been ignored and considered almost abnormal, but now that there is more awareness students, staff, and all members of the community are able to take advantage of support from each other.

Teaching comes with many responsibilities and difficulties along with stress. Lunde spoke about the stressful parts of teaching: “You want to do right for the students, so that means you have this desire to make sure you are fully prepared, know all the answers, and be able to support everyone at all times.” Although teaching may seem very stressful, she expresses that “to help reduce our stress it is important to reflect, ask for help from both teachers and students, and to be giving it our best!” 

Pellegrin commented that, “I feel anxious if something doesn’t feel perfectly planned or if I am not meeting my student’s needs or expectations.” She is able to overcome these feelings of stress by “repeating the mantra, ‘It is what it is’ or ‘It doesn’t have to be perfect’, I can allow myself to let it be.” Her useful methods to conquer her stress can serve as important methods to all.

Mental health is a topic that should be recognized by all members of society. Teachers at Saugus High School have found ways to reduce stress in an environment that students go into everyday. By knowing how teachers prioritize mental health, this can be a subject that everyone should take into account especially when communicating with staff and students at Saugus.