On Monday this week, Rustenburg Girls had our first Dialogue Day of 2019. Individual sessions were held in various classrooms and this time, whole classes from the same grade teamed up to discuss the theme of the day: Mental Health and Mental Health Awareness.
This day was in conjunction with the introductory information assembly given the previous Thursday. The assembly included guest speaker Dr Laura Comrie (E 1998), who spoke about, amongst other things, positive coping strategies relating to mental health issues. A major theme broached during both the assembly and the Dialogue Day was the idea of de-stigmatising and supporting, rather than dismissing, those struggling with mental health problems. Discussions focused on the views many people have about mental health. Stigma was especially highlighted as a key issue connected to mental health problems. This is because stigma acts as a barrier, with the resulting discrimination discouraging individuals and their families from seeking the help they need.
This Dialogue Day’s theme was in response to requests made by multiple students. This Dialogue Day enabled students to have conversations in a safe space that welcomed discussion. These conversations are more than just discussions though: by opening up safe platforms, it allows school to be more than just a space for copy-paste learning and rather teaches us to think more about our opinions and how to formulate them and communicate them clearly. These sessions remind us about something very important: that school is also a space for learning and development as a person.
Making time for these discussions is important, whether it seems immediately so or not. The mind and body are intrinsically connected, so why focus on maintaining the health of the physical over the mental? We must remember to allow ourselves time to breathe and play between work – this is where we grow.
Article: Nicole Oosthuisen