South Orangetown Central School District

Mental Health Awareness Month has coincided with some beautiful spring weather which has enabled School Prevention Counselor Ponnu Varghese-John to meet Tappan Zee High School students outdoors for meditation sessions.

“Research suggests that being outdoors has proven benefits for stress reduction, elevated mood and overall improvement in mental health. Meditation and mindfulness are great ways for us to identify areas in our lives where we can focus on more, and do so by being more present,” explained John.

The outdoor sessions are just the latest addition to extensive mental health programming offered throughout the school year by the TZHS student support team. Beyond 1:1 counseling, there are Wellness Wednesday groups that meet weekly on topics ranging from stress management to self-care, social emotional learning lessons provided through classes, mental health tips shared via the @TZHS_Wellness Instagram account and via the TZHS Google Classroom.

“Our students have so many resources available to them through the counseling staff, teachers and administrators,” John noted. “We want them to know that they are not alone and that support is always available. This year has taught us all to be incredibly resilient and know when we need a little extra help. Students are encouraged to stop by the TZHS Wellness Center or by the counseling suite any time!”

Outdoor Mindfulness session at TZHS