by Bea Frum '20
Last week, the NCS club Our Minds Matter and Green Board hosted their first meeting together. Our Minds Matter was founded last year by Olivia Forrester ’18 in response to the three suicides that occurred in the DMV last year, as well as the pressure culture at NCS that brings so much stress to students. This year Bella Haiz ’20 and I have taken over the club, hoping to continue Olivia’s mission.
We were heartened to have such a great response to our first meeting; more than 60 students signed up for the club and 30 attended. The focus for our first club meeting was to learn what the student body needed from the club and why they wanted to join. After the meeting we learned that the resources for students who struggle with mental health need to be more easily accessible and that those who don’t deal with anxiety or depression need to be educated on how to be an ally to their peers. But we quickly realized that Our Minds Matter could not effectively do this without help from all aspects of our school. Mental health needed to be addressed by the rest of the student body, not just those who signed up for the club.
When Pippa Self ’20 and Yara Sigvaldason ’20, the two Green Board representatives for the junior class, approached us to do a joint club meeting, it was the perfect opportunity to include more of our peers. We wanted the meeting to be a combination of Green Board’s initiatives and our own, so we held a meditation session on Hearst’s lawn, practicing mindfulness in a natural setting. Although the attendance was slightly lower than we had anticipated, probably due to the chilly weather, it highlighted an important partnership.
Our Minds Matter is not exclusive to those who deal with mental health issues but is instead an opportunity for any student who is unsatisfied with the school’s efforts to have an honest dialogue about NCS’s culture. We hope that working with different student government boards will help to further spread this message.