Stanford Online High School's student run news site

OHS Observer

Stanford Online High School's student run news site

OHS Observer

Stanford Online High School's student run news site

OHS Observer

The Board of Mental Health

Mental health is essential for an overall well-being and requires understanding, support, and care. (Creative Commons License)
Mental health is essential for an overall well-being and requires understanding, support, and care. (Creative Commons License)

The World Health Organization defines mental health as the “state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” With May being finals season, as well as Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s important to recognize the impact that mental health can have. Sometimes, it can be hard to balance school and other outside commitments. The OHS Student Government, recognizing this, created the Board of Mental Health.

 

On March 15, elections for the chair of the Board of Mental Health officially started and ended five days later. The board is Student Government’s newest board. According to the OHS Executive Committee, or ExComm, the board aims to “foster better mental health and promote psychological well-being in the broad OHS community.” Unelected members on the Board of Mental Health will function in a similar way to other boards, and students who are interested in joining the Board will be able to sign up and participate in the fall. To learn more about the board, Kabir Gupta, a senior at OHS who was recently elected as the chair of the Board of Mental Health, provided insights about the board and its objectives.

 

“To me, mental health is a big and complicated concept that can’t be pinned down to one little thing. Physical health is also important to mental health, but then there’s also emotional health that gets involved,” says Gupta. There are differences in everyone’s symptoms. Not every mental health problem can be treated the same way every cough can. Different people have different needs, and as such, will require different approaches to their problems. As Gupta says, “Mental health is an experience. Everyone has their own journey with it. Different people have different struggles and that’s the most important thing that makes it different.”

 

The board aims to address specific needs that OHS students have. Describing how the board’s focus is on the student body, Gupta said that board members must ask themselves, “Even more than what is mental health to me, what is mental health to the community? What is the role of a student organization dedicated to mental health for the community? What do they need?” Because the Board thrives off of student perspectives, Gupta hopes to integrate diverse voices. One idea he has is to “have teachers check in with students before class and incorporate those check-ins into things that the Board does…We are looking for all the opinions and advice we can get.”

 

However, the novelty of the board still leaves uncertainty for what it can do; “Normally, the way student government boards work is to keep doing the thing that the board has always done. But, there’s nothing that the Board of Mental Health has always done because it hasn’t ever been a thing before!” says Gupta. As such, the goals of the new Board are focused on defining its role in OHS: “Our main mission for this semester is to figure out what the community needs. It’s very clear that the need is there; the question is what specific needs are there, and how we can address them. And where does this board, as opposed to OHS Counseling, or the different clubs that already exist, fit in and carve out its niche as to what it can and cannot solve.”

 

Despite the Board’s novelty, Gupta remains optimistic about its future: “I was really excited to see how much everyone wants to make a change, and I think that’s an amazing thing for this board,” he says.

 

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