South Orangetown Central School District

“I’m one of William O. Schaefer’s school psychologists, which means I’m a feelings helper,” Lisa Murphy, Psy.D., explained to Rachel Yelin’s first grade class last Friday. “Just as we need to help make sure that your body is healthy and strong, we need to make sure that your thinking and feelings are healthy and strong, too.”

The visit was part of a school-wide Mental Health Awareness Month activity, in which members of the WOS student support team led read-alouds of Hannah Peckham’s “Conker the Chameleon” and classroom discussions about feelings. “We use the Mood Meter to communicate about our feelings so that we can get our needs met,” Murphy noted. “People can’t tell how you’re feeling by looking at you, so you need to use your words. It’s important to talk about your feelings with people who care about you.”

Students took turns naming people with whom they could share their feelings: family members, friends and teachers. “Remember that you also have Ms. Mueller, Ms. Inglis, Ms. Steinberg and me. We’re all here for you,” said Murphy.

Dr. Lisa Murphy with first-graders