by Lauren Hill ’21
The average 2019 high school student is faced with the pressures of school, sports, family and personal issues, and extracurriculars daily. All these things can have detrimental effects on students’ emotional and mental health. At the beginning of this month, Sherwood will take a step to help students cope with stressors and address their concerns about mental, emotional, and social health through a new program called The Net.
The hope for the program is to ensure students receive the support and information they need to maintain good mental health. In the past few years mental illness, among teens has increased significantly. The American Psychological Association’s Journal of Abnormal Psychology concluded that 52 percent of adolescents from ages twelve to seventeen have shown major indicative signs of depression. The National Institute for Mental Health reported that more than six million teenagers suffer from anxiety. The Net is being created in an effort to combat the epidemic of mental illness, and stress in teens. The idea for the program came about during the summer when senior Joel Friedbuam worked with Principal Eric Minus to plan and create this space for any students at Sherwood. A room previously used as a faculty lounge in D214, near the media center, is undergoing final renovations to become the designated space for The Net.
The program offers students the opportunity to hear from professionals from Medstar Montgomery General Hospital about relevant issues, like eating disorders or addiction. It will be available for students to do activities related to social and emotional well being, like meditation and peer to peer discussions. Overall, students can have a place to calm down and decompress when and if they need it. “I am especially excited for the days the room will have stress dogs,” Friedbuam said. To ensure that this program will be effective, while not interfering with student’s class time, the room will be available for use before school, during lunch, and after school.
Science teacher Rebekah Harrison has aided in bringing The Net to fruition. As she has experience as a counselor, she will supervise and support students who decide to use the room, and can offer valuable advice to students who need it. She views The Net as a very positive way for students to receive proactive and positive support. “I really hope to diminish the stigma associated with mental illness and mental health and create a space for students to come in a feel comfortable, where they can destress,” said Harrison.