Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council and Mental Health

Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council and Mental Health


The Student Advisory Council, or the Superintendent’s Advisory Council is a body composed of four students from every high and secondary school from across county. So once a month the SAC comes together to convene and talk about issues such as mental health or school environments. Every single year the SAC picks three issues to focus on and at the end of the year presents to the School Board their findings and their advice to the Board moving forward. Well SAC is a really cool organization because we kind of as the students have a way to advocate for ourselves to the superintendent and to just kind of bring up issues that might slip through the cracks especially since we are such a big county in Fairfax. Today at SAC we got to get a small sample of an organization that works to implement mental health reform across schools called Our Minds Matter. And so we completed what one activity would look like understand from our point of view how that can be implemented at our schools. Our Minds Matter is an initiative by the Josh Anderson Foundation. It’s named after my brother who died by suicide coming up on eight years ago and he was a junior at South Lakes High School at the time. Our Minds Matter is basically a student-led club structure. One of the biggest assets of what we created was activities all related back to increasing help-seeking, promoting social connectedness, promoting the development of healthy habits and coping skills and so that’s one of the activities that we did today. And then the whole idea is that they take that learning and bring it out to the rest of their school community. I want most for students to feel that even when they’re in a difficult place or dealing with something that they can’t control they do have support and they can balance out the frustration and the hardship that they’re going through in productive ways. So that includes talking to people or understanding what often they have outside of just keeping it internal and I want every student to feel that balance and that support. A lot of SAC students have felt that there is a more noticeable change especially because more schools are doing mental health awareness weeks and with these weeks students are coming to school just feeling more refreshed and feeling like the student body is cohesive and is learning about mental wellness together. There is still a lot of work to be done and across the entire county, I think students are doing very well with leading the initiatives. But we’re seeing a good change.

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