Personal experience, as well as research, informed Thomas Fry’s perspective on the topic of mental health and wellness. Fry, a Palmer Ridge High School Senior, detailed his battle with anxiety and how it influenced his desire to and help inspire conversations around mental health and the impact it can have on a community.
In a presentation to the Board of Education on Oct. 18, Fry gave his experience and presented ideas on how schools can make an impact in the area of mental health and wellness in the near and long term.
“I have an anxiety disorder. I don’t say that for you guys to feel sorry for me, I say that so I can share my story, which I feel is relevant for high schoolers my age,” Fry said. “In schools, mental health problems need to be talked about, and before that, they need to be taught about.”
According to Fry, in a class of 30 students, on average there are likely multiple students experiencing mental health issues, including anxiety, depression and insomnia. Multiple challenges exist, including the stigma around mental health problems, but also understanding available resources.
“We could have teachers set aside a portion of their classes to teach about this stuff. We could have seminars to teach about this stuff in schools. This is stuff that should be taught about monthly, or even weekly,” Fry said.
Fry also advocated for adding more counselors, increased compensation to retain counselors, among other ideas.To see more of Fry’s recommendations and learnings, tap here.