Bren is an amazing and knowledgeable educator. She excels at engaging students and invites questions. She truly makes it feel as if there are no bad questions. She is a mentor and positive role model for how staff can support mental health by just being aware and approachable. Each class she acknowledges that school can be stressful and that she's available to talk. It's simple and doesn't take away from learning, but it lets students know that there is someone who cares. These simple words make a world of difference.
To me, mental health is about our overall sense of well-being - the way we think and feel and *are* in our own skins, and in connection to others. Mental health: we all have it! Whether or not we have a mental illness, each of us has our own mental health that we can be mindful of and nurture.
I believe it is important for educators to recognize that students are whole people - physical, emotional, mental, spiritual people - who participate in their educational experiences with a diverse range of personal experiences. We may be in the same ocean, but we are not all in the same boat and we do not all experience (and have the same tools to navigate) the same storms. I hope that I am a person who creates a safe and respectful space for students to engage in their learning, and that I can listen well.
--- Bren Melles