October 10, 2021 was World Mental Health Day. As always, Park Street took this day as a learning opportunity for our students. Miss Leach taught a lesson to help students better understand their own mental health. Together, the class debunked myths and looked at various mental health conditions.
Guest Speaker, Ryan Hughes, joined our classroom to provide our students with a real human experience. In August 2021, Ryan opened up about his mental health struggles to raise awareness and challenge stigmas.
Ryan shared his personal story about living with a bipolar and ADHD diagnosis with our students. He also spoke about some of the fears he had about telling the world about his mental health challenges particularly with his bipolar diagnosis as he “didn’t want there to be another thing wrong with [him].”
When he opened up, Ryan urged other leaders to talk about mental health as a reality. "Let's stop talking about mental health as a concept or as policies in the workplace. Let's start talking about it as a reality that so many of us struggle with." Once Ryan opened up to the world, he had never felt more accepted. He encouraged our students to embrace their mental health and to see diversity as a superpower.
"Do not ignore mental health."
Our students had the opportunity to explore their curiosity and ask Ryan questions. This allowed them to dive deeper into the discussion of mental health. One grade 7 student even suggested to Ryan that he should consider doing a TED Talk. The entire Park Street community is grateful to Ryan for joining us in class and being so open with our students!