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The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration

The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration

Mental health awareness fair at Colonia High School

Photo Credit: Sofia Sokolow
One activity students participated in at the mental health fair was yoga to improve strength and breathing.

In recent years, there has been a spike in mental health awareness in the scholastic setting. On May 19, 2023, Colonia High School’s Guidance Department held a mental health awareness fair to address this seemingly taboo topic.

mental health in schools

Students in schools are needing mental health resources now more than ever. According to the National Education Association, 75% of United States parents said their children would benefit from mental health counseling. In addition, one-third have said their child has recently shown symptoms of mental health issues including anxiety and depression. Being seen in younger grades whose formative years were interrupted by Covid-19, kids need to know they have a place to turn to. Teachers and administrators are opening the gateway for allowing students to have outlets they can resource. Rene Myers, an intervention specialist in St. Paul, has said the bottom line is “You can’t teach if you’re not addressing mental health.”

what Colonia High School is doing

Colonia High School recognizes mental health as being a prominent condition in their students today. The school has conducted Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Wednesdays. Students take various self-help quizzes and participate in various mental health-oriented activities on these days. However, the school has recently held a mental health fair to allow kids to explore what they might be feeling and find avenues to cope with those feelings.

mental health awareness fair

With May being mental health awareness month, the guidance department at Colonia High organized a mental health awareness fair. It took place on May 19, a sunny day to explore mental health. The event had several stations and booths that allowed students to learn and explore different coping methods. The turnout was tremendous, with many students filling the school’s courtyard and interacting with the many stations.

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Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils to promote mental and physical well-being. It has many benefits including improving energy, increasing the rate of healing, eliminating headaches, and relieving pain, just to name a few. The station included various things to appease the senses including scented hand sanitizer and essential oils. Scents included lavender, eucalyptus, and peppermint. Many products are featured from the Bath and Body Works’ Aromatherapy line, which includes lotions, oil mists, bath soaks, and shower gels.

fidget station

Another station featured fidget toys, which are small toys aiming to relieve stress and anxiety by providing stimulation to the hands. Pop-it toys were given out to students at this station. Pop-its are bubble-wrap-like toys that allow the individual to “pop” the bubbles on each of its two sides.

Pictured is a portable Pop-it key chain which were given out at the fair. Pop-its allow an individual to relieve anxiety by popping the bubbles. (Photo Credit: Photo via Dylan DaCunha)

The station also featured other fidget toys including “pinch me therapy dough.” The dough is a holistic stress reduction tool for any time use. The product aims to reduce stress and anxiety by kneading and pinching the dough. It comes in various calming scents titled Spa, Zen, Beach, Refresh, Ocean, Citrus, Sun, and many others. The scents featured at the fair were Spa and Zen. Spa is a soft feminine scent with hints of lavender, and Zen is a light powdery scent.


Perhaps the most interactive station was the yoga area. This booth offered a guided yoga class complete with mats and serene background music playing all while in the beauty of nature. Practicing yoga has many benefits. The most prominent include increased brain function and improved mood. The station received many participants, as students were leaving positive feedback and enjoying their time outside.

seeking help

While the fair did provide creative ways to deal with mental health, they also provided several resources one can utilize if they need to seek further help. GenPsych, a mental health treatment center in New Jersey, had representatives giving out pamphlets that detailed their extensive treatment programs. They offer inpatient, outpatient, and partialized hospitalization care. The wide range of therapy topics they can cover includes Art and Music Therapy, Yoga and Play Therapy, Anger Management, and Family therapy to name a few. The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide also had a booth set up with various pamphlets. Based out of Freehold in New Jersey, the SPTS is a non-profit organization dedicated to spreading awareness regarding teen suicide and reducing the stigma surrounding it.


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About the Contributors
Dylan DaCunha
Dylan DaCunha, Editor-in-Chief
Dylan DaCunha is a senior at Colonia High School. She has enjoyed writing all her life, going all the way back to elementary school. She plays softball and has big aspirations to play in college, which is what fuels her passion for writing about sports. She’s an avid baseball fan which doesn’t hurt either. Not only does she play softball at CHS, but she’s an active member in multiple honor societies including Quill & Scroll Media Honor Society. She loves maintaining good grades in order to participate in these activities. Outside of school, she enjoys being with her friends as well as watching movies and listening to music. She plans on traveling the world someday and taking in as much as she can. Her favorite quote, by singer Harry Styles, is “If you’re happy doing what you’re doing nobody can tell you you’re not successful.”   
Sofia Sokolow
Sofia Sokolow, Reporter
Sofia Sokolow is a Junior at Colonia High School. She is currently a cheerleader and has been cheering for 13 years. Sokolow enjoys going to the beach and listening to music. She is enjoys social outings and making new friends. She is outgoing and very personable, Sokolow finds it fun to talk to new people. Upon completion of high school, Sokolow would like to go to John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, New York . She is interested in pursuing a career as an Analyst or Profiler for the FBI. Either with her future job or on vacation, Sokolow hopes to travel outside of the country to Italy and Tokyo someday.

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Mental health awareness fair at Colonia High School