Through the power of our BWell Saginaw partnership, which includes the Saginaw County ISD, we met the Youth Ambassadors, a unique group of high school seniors representing each one of our rural, suburban and urban school districts. They have been serving together as a cohort for three years, participating in leadership development and community service. And they have been craving opportunities to share their mental health struggles without fear of stigma or reprisal. They want to cultivate safe spaces in their schools to “chill,” turn to trained and caring adults when needed during the school day, and understand if what they are feeling is “normal.”
There is a growing evidence base that supports art as an effective way to directly improve health. In particular, art has been especially valuable in the areas of collective trauma, racism, social isolation, mental illness, and chronic illness.
When physiological needs such as food are provided for, mental health can finally take the front seat, allowing an individual to be truly “healthy.”
Mental health in the workplace is a major public health concern and the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that the struggles should be more openly discussed, with interventions and solutions for everyone. There are numerous initiatives and efforts to advance the awareness of improving the mental state of our workforce, but the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and remote work are yet to be fully addressed.