Monticello High School students Kaia Loberg and Jacob Keller have seen first hand how stress can affect their fellow students.
Especially around the end of the semester when the pressure associated with finals can impact the mental wellbeing of students, Keller says.
Now students at Monticello High School have a new tool in coping with the daily pressures of stress- the MHS Chill Room.
Loberg and Keller took it upon themselves to create a chill room at the high school after MHS was chosen to participate in Allina Health’s Change to Chill program.
As part of the program, Loberg and Keller spent time during a summer internship program in Shakopee with Allina staff and students from 15 other high schools.
“We learned about stress,” Keller said. That included a discussion on the difference between good stress and bad stress, how to manage stress, and a discussion on mindfullness and wellbeing.
“We were also introduced to tools on the Web that can help with student stress and how to present that information to students,” Loberg said.
The end goal of the program, Keller said, was to return to Monticello and creating a chill zone - or place within the school where a student can escape from the pressures of stress- if even just for a moment.
At program’s end, the two received $1,000 for creating a Chill Zone at Monticello High School.
“When teens have the resources and support to stress less, they are more resilient and able to live fuller and happier lives,” said Susan Nygaard, manager of Allina Health’s Community Health Improvement. “Change to Chill works as a preventive measure to equip teens with tools and resources to better manage stress and anxiety.”
MHS’s Chill Room is located in an area near the school’s counseling services.
“We wanted it to be cozy and homey,” Loberg said, “But it also had to remind students that they are still at school.”
To achieve a comfortable area to “chill out,” Loberg and here father painted the walls in an inviting tropical green, gray, and bright blue color scheme. Oversized chairs were added that appear to envelope students who might use
the room. A desk and cupboard were also added to make the room homey.
Before the Chill Room opened at Monticello High School, the school hosted a Chill Week - a week of fun events to raise awareness of student stress and the fact that there are people and processes to help students with their stress.
Events included “Too-Kind Tuesday,” “Workout Wednesday,” “Kindness Thursday,” and Fun Friday.” There were ball tournaments to bring students closer together, and a guest speaker from Allina Health. There were also giveaways during the week, Loberg said.
Keller not only learned from being a part of the Allina project, but had fun working within a budget to help design and bring the MHS Chill Room to reality. Loberg said she found it cool to be part of a team that brought something like the Chill Room into the school.
Mental health is a rising problem, according to Allina health, especially in the teen population.
“Everybody deals differently with stress. We’re here to help when help is needed,” Loberg said.
Reach Jeff Hage at firstname.lastname@example.org