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Unique Offerings Support Student Mental Health

Unique Offerings Support Student Mental Health

Unique Offerings Support Student Mental Health


Dr. Taneja leads YogAsana on Mondays from 6:45 to 7:30 am in the Dance Studio.

Staff Writer

October 12, 2023

Julian Zhang '26

Life at school is naturally stressful. However, many community members are involved every day in efforts to support students’ mental well-being. 

The school offers counseling services to all students, with a team of five licensed practitioners available around the clock, seven days a week. Appointments are typically scheduled by emailing Ms. Jodi von Jess, director of counseling, but walk-in requests are also welcome. Ms. von Jess said, “It’s important for all teenagers to have trusted adults in their lives, because so many students struggle with being away from home. Counseling helps students deal with their stress and anxiety by developing coping skills.” 

Although some students may hesitate to seek support because of the social stigma around discussing their well-being with others, Ms. von Jess said, “Counseling services works hard to create a judgment-free environment where every student feels empowered to open up about their struggles and find the help they need.” 

Students can also try yoga classes. Mr. John Dreger, instructor in French, offers a Yoga co-curricular in the fall and winter seasons. 

For those who want to try a single class or engage throughout the year, Dr. Anju Taneja, instructor in physics, hosts YogAsana sessions throughout the year on Mondays from 6:45 to 7:30 a.m. In her classes, students perform sun salutations and other asanas, or postures, to stretch, warm up the body, practice mindfulness, and express gratitude. 

Dr. Taneja said, “YogAsana is not a workout program. It is more about connecting with oneself. Observing and regulating one’s breath will help you understand and control your emotions. This awareness instills in each of us the capacity to accept that it’s okay to be vulnerable.” Dr. Taneja teaches the concept of the five yogic layers of existence – the physical, energetic, mental, intellectual, and blissful aspects of the person. She believes incorporating habits that positively influence any of these five layers will enhance well-being. 

She advises, “First, get enough sleep. Establish a consistent schedule that you can follow, with 8-9 hours of sleep. Second, spend some quiet time with yourself. Find somewhere you can control your breath and take your mind off your troubles. And last, be kind. Anytime you judge others, ask yourself, ‘Am I perfect?’ We all have our flaws, and this habit will help you develop empathy for others.” 

Recently, the school featured a Wellness Week in late September that included activities promoting student well-being. The program featured a variety of workshops, fishbowls, speakers, and activities. 

Guest speakers such as Mr. Jeff Perera, an award-winning speaker and educator; Ms. Nika King, an actress, comedian, and star of HBO’s “Euphoria;” and Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, a New York Times-bestselling author and lecturer at Harvard University, addressed various aspects of well-being in all-school meetings. Coming up, students can look forward to additional wellness-related programming during community time on November 7.

Julian Zhang is a staff writer for The Record.

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Editor's Note: This article was recovered from The Record's online archive. There may be stylistic and visual errors that interrupt the reading experience, as well as missing photos. To read this article as it appeared in print, view our print archives.

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Editorials are written by members of The Record's Executive Board. They typically center on issues related to the school or student life on campus.

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