Mental Health—Oh What A Thought!

Grade 10 students playing spikeball during Mental Health Month
Grade 10 students playing spikeball during Mental Health Month
Pradyun Chebolu

Whether you have thoroughly examined the concept or heard it thrown around, the idea of Mental Health has become fundamental to how people describe how they are feeling. It is, however, a very challenging and detailed concept that has only recently surfaced to allow people to talk about it freely.

The New York Times article titled Are We Talking Too Much About Mental Health? written by Ellen Barry, explains that we might be “overdoing it” when talking about mental health. Barry furthers this statement through many examples of experiments made as well as statements from industry professionals—one of which being Dr. Jessica Gold, who explains that although she is pleased to see that we are now more open about talking about our feelings, she fears this could “lead to overdiagnosis, or [an] incorrect diagnosis.”

Grade 10 students participating in their Mental Health Month soccer flex day activity

Through this article, I was curious to see what the overall ‘vibe’ around mental health was at St. George’s school. The reality of St. George’s is that everyone wants to do ‘everything’, leading to an incredibly busy and hectic atmosphere. I am personally guilty of always wanting to be doing something whether it’s playing sports, music, or volunteering—there is always something to do. The problem is that this can be overwhelming for many people and can lead to mental and emotional struggles. We have also seen through ‘senioritis’ in the grads that burnout and ‘checking out’ are real issues in the school community. The school is tasked with a major responsibility in taking care of these problems; however, the main questions that need to be asked are: Should the school put more of an emphasis on taking care of one’s mental health? And, how do students and faculty see mental health as a concept? I chose to tackle the second question through an interview process with the question, “What does mental health mean to you?” I purposefully interviewed a sample of students from grades 8-12, as well as some faculty members. The goal of this process was to see how different people described the idea of mental health in their own words.

Interview video:

Through the interview process, I believe the idea of mental health was illustrated in a way that made it seem even more unique than I thought. The responses to my question, “What does mental health mean to you”, led to a vastness of ideas. Furthermore, the concept was so challenging for some to respond to that they chose not to be interviewed entirely. Through this, it can be seen that the concept of mental health is far clearer for some than it is for others. Some people seemed to have it all figured out, while others, seemed to only be able to describe it in a very basic fashion. From this comparison, it can be understood that some people may choose to think more about mental health cognitively, while others might just ‘go with the flow’. An example of this would be Owen Wang ’25 saying that he “has it all figured out”; while Josh Su ’24 said that “he does not understand mental health”. Josh described mental health as “walking around in a dark room and trying not to slip on 20 bananas”.

May’s Mental Health Month Junior MoTalk led by Pradyun Chebolu ’24 (Tim Soril)

Should we talk more about mental health at St. George’s? This question is something that came to mind both before and after the interview process. Through May’s Mental Health Month, the Health and Wellness portfolio designed many different activities designed at supporting the school’s overall mental health as well as increasing the conversations around this topic. With the many MoTalks that occurred, students and faculty alike were able to share their thoughts and ideas in a safe space. I believe that this was productive in allowing for more conversations to be had surrounding mental health, and the activities also had good buy-in from the students and faculty. I wonder if these activities and conversations could occur all the way throughout the year? Would this change the overall ‘vibe’ around mental health and allow for the school to be more informed as a whole? Rhett Cotton ’25 explains that “the school talks about it a lot, but doesn’t really do anything about it.”

Grad vs Staff basketball during Mental Health Month

Mental health is something that never takes a break. Whether we choose to embrace it or push it away, it is our decision to handle our mind and body in our own way. Mental health is a challenging concept for anyone to understand, and it is difficult to grasp the concept in a holistic way. The way each of us experiences and treats the idea of mental health is different and this is what makes us unique as humans.


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