BLS Takes Mental Health to Heart


The resource table offers stickers, stress balls and more. (Source: @bls_mentalhealth)

On October 14, the inaugural Boston Latin School Mental Health Advisory Board held a Mental Health Awareness Day, one of many initiatives to de-stigmatize and prioritize students’ mental health.

The Mental Health Awareness Day included mental health activities, resources and information. At the beginning of all class periods, excluding R5, teachers were instructed to ask a creative question to students in an effort to spark discussion and connection among peers. Staff and student volunteers outside the dining hall also handed out flyers and self care items, such as stress balls, fidget toys and granola bars. The flyers were also posted along the hallways, informing students of the importance of mental health.

Some students benefited from the informational flyers while most enjoyed the self-care items, which quickly ran out. Though many students visited the resource table, the majority did not receive flyers; some were not even aware that they were available.

Cynthia Wang (IV) shares, “I honestly think it was useless. We obviously have ways to deal with stress ourselves, but it was so useless just to talk about what we would do ourselves to manage stress, because I would rather learn about other ways I could possibly manage my stress.” 

While some students had higher expectations of the event, the student-led Mental Health Advisory Board aims to amplify the voices of students so that the administration may better understand how to address the mental health needs of students at BLS. In May of last year, roughly 25 to 30 students applied to join the Board, and eight were chosen with the diversity of BLS in mind.

Dr. Vanessa Prosper, the BLS clinical coordinator and Board’s faculty advisor, states, “Even if students are not part of the BLS Mental Health Initiative, if they have ideas of how mental health supports and programming can be improved, then email me.”

Another mental health program that the school sponsors is the annual Signs of Suicide workshop that took place this year on November 2. Run by the guidance department, it presents methods to combat situations involving suicide to Class VI and IV students. During the workshop, students participated in classroom discussions about how to identify and address the signs of suicide in an individual.

Originally, a school-wide assembly outlining the importance of mental health was meant to be held at the beginning of the year. It was, however, canceled due to planning issues and time restraints. Instead, Mental Health Day served as a kickstart for future mental health initiatives.

Ethan Ho (I), a member of the Mental Health Advisory Board, concludes, “It’s going to be a long road to solving this problem, but I have complete faith that someday we are going to have the ideal mental health environment for our students.”

If students have any questions or ideas for the Mental Health Advisory Board, they can email Dr. Prosper at [email protected].