SWEAR Committee Promotes Student Mental Health

Dean Ormsby, Opinions Editor

By being more open and truthful about mental health, others may feel more comfortable and assured in seeking the help they need.”

— Emma Truchan

In the committee’s founding year, the Student Wellness Education and Resources [SWEAR] Committee aims to enhance student mental wellbeing on the UC High campus and throughout the San Diego Unified School District through student and faculty engagement, ultimately with hopes to combat rising mental health issues among young people.

   Through their connection to the school district, the committee has plans to implement wellness into the education curriculum, including adding a unit on the topic to physical education classes, Committee Co-Founder Hannah Griswold shared. “We have also given presentations on wellness strategies implementable by all teachers and staff at almost every high school in the district, and we will be presenting a district-wide counselor meeting to expand our efforts to middle and elementary schools,” said Griswold.

   According to UC High Representative Emma Truchan, “SWEAR has worked with faculty, including counselors and teachers, to communicate the needs of students regarding mental health and wellbeing. It is our goal to make resources and information more accessible to the students that need it, ultimately in an attempt to better the wellness of the students.” The committee hopes that through efforts from those who interact most with students, mental health issues can be destigmatized and remedied.

   “Students’ struggle with mental wellness has become increasingly widespread, with many people placing the blame on elements of modern society: social media, drug access, competitive education and other elements. Our committee connects student leaders that are passionate about improving student wellness from all high schools across San Diego Unified School District, with 33 different members representing 33 different high schools. These connections allow students to consider diverse perspectives when addressing the plethora of innovative solutions, and have more influence when advocating for change,” said Griswold.

   “The SWEAR Committee was made out of concern for students. With the rising numbers of depression, anxiety, and stress among our generation coupled with the broader stigma around mental health, it was necessary to create a space that promotes mental health education, and resource sharing,” said Truchan.

   According to the Data Research Center for Child and Adolescent Health, anxiety disorders in teens rose by 20 percent from 2007-2012 (childhealthdata.org). Furthermore, hospital admissions for suicidal teenagers have more than doubled in the past decade, according to a study published by American Academy of Pediatrics News (aappublications.org).

   According to UC Representative Tierra Sibley,  “A committee like this is so important in today’s society because it is so easy to feel alone when going through mental hardships. It’s important for students to know there are others who are going through the same thing as them.”

   “Destigmatization of mental health  can be promoted through healthy and productive conversation.. By being more open and truthful about mental health, others may feel more comfortable and assured in seeking the others they need. This makes destigmatization a group effort. Once someone models a positive approach to wellness, others follow, and model the same healthy habits towards others,” said Truchan.

   Griswold said, “As the Co-founder and Co-chair of SWEAR, I am dedicated to addressing student stress levels and mental wellness education to teach students general coping mechanisms and wellness strategies, as well as about more serious mental illnesses.”