Club Profile: Mental Health @ Menlo

On+Monday%2C+Nov.+22%2C+2019%2C+Menlo+Students+were+given+the+opportunity+to+participate+in+the+petting+zoo+provided+by+Jasper+Ridge+Farm.+The+opportunity+was+spearheaded+by+the+Mental+Health+%40+Menlo+Club+in+an+attempt+to+improve+students%27+mental+health+during+Finals+week.+%0AStaff+Photo%3A+Ari+Krane%0A

On Monday, Nov. 22, 2019, Menlo Students were given the opportunity to participate in the petting zoo provided by Jasper Ridge Farm. The opportunity was spearheaded by the Mental Health @ Menlo Club in an attempt to improve students’ mental health during Finals week. Staff Photo: Ari Krane

Adam Karr

As school becomes more and more stressful because of increased workloads, the stress of grades or the competition to get accepted to colleges, the student-led Mental Health @ Menlo club offers a safe space for students to check in with each other and reflect on what needs changing. According to senior co-leader Tessa Grosso, the club aims to destigmatize conversations about mental health. “In addition to normalizing conversations about mental health, we also try to do whatever we can to improve mental health, even if it is for a quick second while eating a donut or reading a letter that a friend wrote,” Grosso said. The club also works with the administration to make school less stressful for students.

The club meets during lunch on Mondays and leaders typically start with a check-in. “We then move into time spent planning our initiatives or brainstorming ideas to make student life less stressful,” Grosso said. 

Another crucial part of the club is its relationship with the administration, which allows club leaders to advocate for students. “We often discuss topics with the administration such as finals, homework load and Zoom fatigue,” Grosso said. “Counselors [Tracy] Bianchi and [Jake] Fauver, our club advisors, often ask us questions about how things are going for us, and our feedback allows them to see things from a student perspective, making us an important link from the administration to students,” junior co-leader Kate Richardson said. 

The club also hosts many events to raise awareness for mental health issues. Every November, the club runs a Mental Health assembly. “We recently showed a video about students’ experience during quarantine, which I think has had a major effect on students’ mental health,” Richardson said. The club also works with other organizations and clubs in the Menlo Community, such as the Safe Space organization in Menlo Park and the Menlo Wellness Committee, both organizations based on providing support for students. The club’s most recent event was a bake sale held for Safe Space.

One of the Mental Health @ Menlo club’s main goals is to make school less stressful. For example, last year the club was responsible for hosting Jasper Ridge farm animals during finals week to ease stress levels. 

“We would like to develop a better feedback system for students to communicate what is going well and what needs changing,” Richardson said. 

The administration’s implementation of Hit Reset–a time for students to do various activities of their choosing during student life, is an opportunity for students to take a break from school and spend doing an activity they enjoy. “We haven’t had a ton of time to really explore, but I think it will be a helpful part of wellness and a great break for students. But [some students have] brought up whether a tutorial is better,” Richardson said. 

Grosso, on the other hand, wants the administration to focus on minimizing stress before we even need the time to “reset.”