How “Cope Council” is Improving School-Wide Mental Health Awareness

By: Osvald Klimi

Cope Council was created in the 2015/2016 school year by six enthusiastic grade eleven students wishing to help their classmates deal with all the pressure faced in high school. The psychological burdens faced by high school students are of wide variety and magnitude; whether it be getting the required marks for university, trying to keep stable relationships with your friends, or even scrambling to finish the required volunteer hours needed to graduate.

A lot of different aspects of teenage life need to be well-balanced, and this can be quite challenging at times: it truly causes a lot of stress. That is the part where Cope Council comes in. The first goal this club has is to inform people of the importance of mental health. More often than not, mental health is ignored, simply because it is more difficult to perceive in others; it is easy to just brush someone off and say “you’re just complaining a lot”. The second goal is to actually play a part in the school community to attempt to brighten the atmosphere. This is done with many stress-relieving events throughout the year, the most well-known being free tea handed out in the foyer on Monday mornings. By simply starting people’s day off with a sweet message on a warm cup of tea, frowns are literally turned upside down, and the week suddenly becomes slightly more bearable.

Cope Council started last year with only 6 students trying to make a difference in their school, and the staff sponsors: Ms. Ng and Ms. Shyllit. This year they have expanded to allow anyone wishing to help join, and have big things planned. This includes monthly mini-events, such as letting people make an keep their own stress-balls, and big events for mental health awareness week in April. By decreasing stress in many small ways, Cope Council is trying to make the school a more positive environment for mental health.