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Mental Health Through The Students’ Eyes

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“It’s amazing to learn and be able to say, “I did stand-up comedy when I was 12 years old.”

You can see in this weighted word cloud above the most commonly mentioned, positive adjectives from the students’ eyes to describe the Happiness-at-School Project.  Here are some comments from the final blogs of 7/8G and the Post-Survey three classes students completed to give you the students’ perspective. Yes, there were students who had doubts and reservations about the value of the project —and we valued and listened to them — knowing how sensitive and critical kids can be. But, overall we were impressed by their positive comments.  Their suggestions have led to future improvements and changes but the core concept remains the same.

CBC TV covered the Project again this year. Take a look at this link to hear the performers in the final Stand-Up Comedy Showcase, the teachers and comedians, and myself.  I am always amazed at how hours of filming can be cut down to a 2 minute story — on national Television!  Thanks CBC and Debbie Lightle Quan for capturing our story.

 

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Here are all the performers at the rehearsal — with Marc and Kyle the comedians who got us there.

Back row: Shazane, Daniel, Karan, Abby, Richard. Front row: Harleen, Marc, Yash, Loshika, Murcelle, Tanesh, Edwin, Rizi, Uroosa, Harit, Micheal, Kyle and Kenson.

 

These were the parts rated “most valuable to you personally” from the Post Survey: (in ranked order)

  • The Stand-Up Comedy Showcase
  • Coaching from Kyle and Marc (our comedian coaches)
  • The Inside-Out movie and emotions
  • mindfulness and meditation class
  • writing and performing my One Minute Joke
  • writing and performing my Two Minute Story
  • Pharrell Williams’ HAPPY song, although some students want a more current song

“Some kids are sad and scared to come to school. It will give them a reason to come to school and to smile.”

 Here is a sample of student comments from the Post-Survey:

  • I learned that you don’t have to make fun of someone to make them laugh. —Tanesh
  • It helped me get all my issues off my mind and really helped me laugh. —Sonia
  • It helped people talk about themselves. —Gandrav
  • Every bad or good thing can be turned into something funny.—Daniel
  • I learned a lot about handling stress, taking moments to be mindful and also staying happy —Ishani
  • It brought a lot of positive vibes to our school and was a big stress reliever. —Karan
  • I learned that being sad, angry, afraid, etc. is part of being happy. —Hailie
  • It was fun and teaches us a lot about mental health and how to find emotions without finding it in a negative form. —Victoria
  • I learned different ways to be happy. —Terrance
  • I learned that is OK to feel sad and that happiness can come from anything. —Yash
  • I learned that there are many ways to relieve stress and be happy and making the best of what I’ve got and being at peace with it. —Harleen

 Here is what they said they learned about mental health and emotions:

  • You can’t be happy without all 5 emotions
  • A lot about handling stress, taking moments to be mindful
  • how to be happy, It’s OK to have a little laughter in your life
  • positive mental health can remove stress and stress-related issues
  • if you have problems, you need to talk with someone

And two final comments from Karth and Kashish

The Happiness Project is a splendid project on its own. Although there may be hesitance at firs, the cycle will endure, the mind will clear and it will seem enjoyable…When new classmen encounter the program next year, squelch their anxiousness and attempt to calm them. Tell them to jump in, head first. – Karth

This project really takes a large step in raising awareness for mental health in NK. We learned how to write jokes, laugh at ourselves, and make sure we don’t put anyone down while writing comedy because this project is about happiness and fun! (I also loved to meditation session that we had, it really calmed me down. – Kashish