Students and staff at schools in Hollister engaged in a number of activities to recognize Mental Health Awareness Week May 13-17. Photo: Courtesy of Hollister School District

Hollister School District sites enthusiastically participated in the recent Mental Health Awareness Week with a variety of activities for students and staff members. 

District schools held activities for Mental Health Awareness Week from May 13-17. The days’ themes included Meditation Monday, Thoughtful Tuesday, White Out Wednesday, Team Up Thursday and Wellness Friday. 

The district’s social-emotional staff members were strategic with the timing of the activities toward the end of the school year—after the completion of testing when students and staff are at a point of burnout, said Eliana Delgadillo, the district’s social-emotional coordinator. 

“We just want to make sure as a Social Emotional Team, we are bringing awareness to the mental wellbeing of students and staff here at the Hollister School District,” Delgadillo said. “We want to focus on supporting the child as a whole, especially after testing.”

On May 13, the district’s focus was on relaxation. Cerra Vista Elementary School hosted lunchtime activities, while there were giveaways and suicide prevention information provided to the older students. 

Tuesday was “Blue Day.” At Ladd Lane Elementary School, students blew bubbles and learned to take full cleansing breaths. Activities included cornhole and a giant Connect 4 where kids engaged with one another. 

That same day at Rancho San Justo Middle School, students wrote uplifting messages in chalk, and there were giveaways there as well such as mental health awareness bracelets and pins that recited, “It’s OK to not be OK.” 

“It’s OK to speak about how you feel,” Delgadillo underscored. 

On Wednesday, the focus was on a positive thinking framework. At the Hollister Dual Language Academy, students wrote uplifting messages with chalk. There was a table with kindness words along with more bubbles and giveaways. 

On May 16 at Maze Middle School and R.O. Hardin Elementary School, there were activities like wearing favorite jerseys, staff members blowing bubbles and the sending of positive messages. 

On Friday at Calaveras Elementary School, there was a focus on stigmas attached to mental health, Delgadillo said, and there were ice cream parties at multiple sites for middle school students who participated in spirit week. 

“We just wanted to make it fun and destigmatize mental health, so it’s the same way they talk about other topics here,” she said. 

Delgadillo noted there were activities each day of the school week at Sunnyslope Elementary School and Rancho Santana School. She pointed out how students are becoming more accustomed to “emotional zones of regulation” that include the Blue Zone when they are feeling sad, the Red Zone when they are feeling angry, and the Green Zone when they are feeling calm. 

“As a district, we are definitely showing we are providing information to our staff on wellness,” she said. “We’re not just focused on academics. Now, social-emotional learning is part of our language.” 

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