December 20, 2019
Cypress Creek High School staff members pose on Nov. 4 during the school’s first “Cougars Care about Self Care Day.” Spearheaded by the school’s Student Mental Health Alliance and club sponsor Lauri Baker, the day encouraged students and staff to take time for themselves. Signs lined the campus while staff members wore green, the color associated with mental health awareness.
Dec. 20, 2019—As a way to promote and raise awareness for mental health and self care for the Cypress Creek High School community, the school’s Student Mental Health Alliance (SMHA) and club sponsor Lauri Baker put together the first “Cougars Care about Self Care Day” in November and are already working on a follow up.
It just came sooner than originally expected.
The day started as an idea for the alliance to put together in May as part of Mental Health Awareness Month. SMHA teamed with CFISD’s Mental Health Intervention Team and the Langham Creek High School SMHA in May 2019 to host goat yoga at Cypress Creek.
When Baker, Cypress Creek coordinating counselor, presented the idea, not only was campus administration on board but it hoped to execute the day quickly as a way to benefit students and staff.
They picked Nov. 4, which paired with a student holiday the following day and professional day for the staff could offer a chance for an extended break for everyone. Teachers were encouraged to not assign homework or projects that night. A presentation with tips on self care and mental health awareness was shown in classrooms, while SMHA made signs and posters promoting the day and self care.
“All day, I’m with students who are just as stressed out as I am,” said Cypress Creek senior Collin Smith, who helped found SMHA and pointed to his own course load when addressing factors to stress. “We realized that it went to all classes when you’re taking about projects and homework. Just having one school day where you’re given the day off and the school goes out of its way to encourage a break is great.”
And the day wasn’t just for students, many who returned to school two days later without work to turn in or tests to take. Teachers and staff were encouraged to also take the time for self care and mental health awareness. Many wore green, the color associated with mental health awareness.
“They were encouraged to not do lesson plans or grade papers that night,” Baker said. “This was about self care. It was about doing something nice for yourself and doing something nice for someone else.”
Students and staff were encouraged to take selfies in front of the many signs around campus or even that night or the next day doing any self care activities.
The Cypress Creek High School Student Mental Health Alliance made posters and signs that were displayed across campus leading up to “Cougars Care about Self Care Day” on Nov. 4. The signs offered tips and encouragement for self care, while students and staff members also used the posters as a background for selfies to promote participation in the event.
For some, the break simply allowed time to catch up on other work or do other projects since no new work was introduced.
“The kids enjoyed it and some have asked if we’re doing another one,” Baker said. “ I was just shooting to do one in May, so for us to get one off and running in two weeks and have the support was huge.”