Ms. Brinkman’s Psychology Class’ Mental Health Week a Success 

By Claire Wilson 

May 15, 2024
Photo credit: Blaire Brinkman 

Each year, Ms. Brinkman’s psychology class puts on a mental health week, and groups of two or three students plan activities to foster positive mental health among the students of MBHS. Brinkman has organized the week each year for the eight years she has taught at MBHS. She says, “a lot of people always assume that when you're talking about mental health, it's automatically mental illness. But every single human has mental health, and we should all be working to take care of it just like we take care of our physical health.” During an AP testing week and with finals around the corner, the week comes at the perfect time for MBHS students. 

Kainoah Morgan hands out ribbons
Gabi White, Eva Behlers, and Tiya Patel (Photo credit: Blaire Brinkman)

On Monday, Yesenia Martinez and Valeria Martinez handed out green ribbon pins at the front entrances with the help of a few other psychology students. Gabi White, Eva Behlers, and Tiya Patel held a flowergram table in the quad at lunch on Tuesday. Students filled out cards to be delivered with flowers to a student of their choice during third period the following day. Trent Penny, Jackson McMahon, and Keyton Brebes organized a chalk art activity in the quad. 

On Wednesday, students participated in a plate breaking activity by Michael Pascual and Hero Ruddell, which involved climbing a ladder and throwing a plate down onto a tarp. The idea behind the project was that the activity would help students relieve stress or anger in a relatively safe way. Canine therapy was also held on the football field that day, and was likely the most attended event. 

On Thursday at nutrition, Lily Williams, Lannaiah Zales, and Claire Wilson held a coffee and hot cocoa table complete with creamer, sugar, and marshmallows. The activity was a success, and the group ran out of both coffee and cocoa before the break ended. Sergio Mendoza organized a rock painting activity in the quad on Friday, complete with cards and a fun playlist. Mateo Olivas hosted a tea and mindfulness seminar in Ms. Brinkman’s classroom.

While many of the projects were activities during nutrition and lunch, other students chose to focus on fostering positive mental health among staff. Ayden Galaviz, Zoe Schuyler, and Cecilia Whittington baked cookies and wrote notes which they delivered to teachers on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Iris Ratzat, Savannah Bailey, and Kathleen Yerkes made goodie bags for teachers. 

Photo credit: Blaire Brinkman 

In the wellness center Taylor Wells, Emmett Wilson, and Reagan Shattuck left friendship bracelet kits for students to use. Other students created posters with positive messages and hung them around campus. 

On Saturday, there was a walk at Nick Bixler’s favorite trail, the Back Bay Loop Trail in Los Osos, to honor his memory. The walk was attended by a few teachers, students, and parents, including the parents of Nick. “People were talking about Nick during the walk and their memories of him and reflecting on the fact that he would have really enjoyed it, like it was a gorgeous, beautiful day,” Brinkman recalls. “Everyone was encouraged to go put their feet in the water because that's what Nick would have done and it felt really good.” 

The week was an incredibly successful one, marked by strong student participation and high effort projects and activities. “It gives [students] an opportunity to actually talk about mental health,” says Brinkman, “which normalizes and begins to destigmatize that conversation.”