Clubs at Saugus Highlight Importance of Mental Health


Photo Courtesy of Mental Health First Aid

Picture showcases the useful resources for those in need of them.

Maddie Del Rio, The Scroll, Wellness Editor

From a worldwide pandemic to a new school atmosphere, many life changing events have occurred in recent months causing countless amounts of students to struggle with their wellbeing, both mentally and physically.

Saugus mental wellness clubs such as Not One More, Bring Change to Mind, and Students Matter, serve to support, encourage, and direct students to help if necessary. Practicing self care maintains mental wellness as it reduces stress and boosts a positive outlook on life.

There are many clubs at Saugus that can support students struggling with mental wellness or offer ways for students to support those experiencing mental health challenges. David Stradling, advisor of the club Not One More, said “The purpose of Not One More is to bring awareness about teen suicide and mental health. We arrange activities that help connect students so that no one feels alone. We also work on ending the stigma and silence that surrounds teen suicide.” This club has had a powerful impact on the Saugus student body. Stradling expresses that, “We have gotten the word out that someone cares. Our motto is ‘Are you okay?’ and ‘Can I help?’ This leads to conversations and sometimes to a student reaching out to me, or a counselor, for help.” This club meets on Zoom, Mondays at lunch. Stradling stresses how vital awareness about suicide is as he claims, “Suicide is the number two killer of teens. If we can get a student help, we can often prevent suicide from happening.”

Another club at Saugus that boosts mental wellness includes the Bring Change to Mind club. Kaitlin Holt, advisor of the club, commented that students in Bring Change to Mind, “come to meetings twice a month, have student conversations about wellness, check in with each other, plan events, and promote wellness on social media.” This club has been extremely effective as Holt claims, “I have seen this club spread positivity on campus and make a conscious effort to constantly improve campus wellness even virtually. Students in the Bring Change to Mind club are constantly innovating new ways to spread awareness but also brighten fellow students’ days.” 

Principal Ferry stressed the significance of these mental wellness clubs: “Life is all about making positive connections with others. Clubs are a great vehicle for students to make these connections. When students feel like they are part of a positive group, there are so many rewards, such as a greater sense of belonging, deeper commitments to a community, and great self esteem.”

Holt vulnerably described why mental wellness is important to her: “Mental health is something I have personally struggled with in my life and have done my best to work through, but it is crucial for me to monitor now after the year we have all had. I know that students at Saugus feel similarly, and I want to make a difference in their lives.” One way to maintain mental wellness is by practicing self care.

Audrey Dornidon, a sophomore at Saugus High School, expressed, “I try not to spend a lot of hours at once doing schoolwork. I take breaks to regroup so that my workload isn’t too stressful. Alone time is really helpful and relaxing.” Meditating, yoga, or even just taking a bath, are different ways one can take their minds off busy schedules and prevent anxiety.

Physical health and mental health often go hand in hand. Physical activity stimulates the release of chemicals that improve appetite, sleep cycles, and “balance your body’s level of stress hormones,”   according to Whether it’s swimming laps in a nearby pool or going on a long, peaceful run, physical activity will greatly boost mental health. 

Exercising a minimum of five days a week and daily creative writing are a couple ways Principal Ferry practices self care. He also added, “After our school’s tragedy, I found it helpful to get guidance and to develop skills through therapy. I know some people feel self conscious about therapy, but for me, as the principal of the school, I feel it’s important that I model for students and staff that I am taking care of myself, and therapy happens to be one way that I am doing so.”

In essence, Saugus mental health clubs are extremely impactful as they erase the stigma around mental wellness, lead students to help, and boost positivity in students’ lives. Mental health is extremely vital, and practicing self care can maintain it. Whether it’s spending time alone or engaging in physical activity, it is crucial to prioritize one’s mental health. Principal Ferry encourages the students of Saugus to maintain a positive mindset. “Distance learning will be over at some point, but please don’t miss out on some of the cool opportunities it’s providing you, such as more time with family, cooking dinner with a parent, or going for a family walk. There are a lot of special lifetime memories that can be made right now!”