Trevarrow’s new focus on mental health

As of 2021, roughly 14 percent of teens ranging from 12 to 17 years old have reported at least one major depressive episode according to Mental Health America. 

It’s statistics like these that inspired health teacher Kassie Trevarrow to make mental health a main focus this year.

I don’t think you can be a healthy person if you’re also not taking care of yourself.

— Kassie Trevarrow

“I think especially after the pandemic, it’s really important to talk about it,” Trevarrow said. “Just like we take care of our bodies by exercising, eating right, I don’t think you can be a healthy person if you’re also not taking care of yourself.” 

Trevarrow said one of the reasons she decided to focus on mental health was seeing the way it affected the behaviors and lives of her students.

“It’s hard to teach kids who are thinking about other things or who are struggling with things such as depression or anxiety and then having to, on top of that, go to sport practices or learn,” Trevarrow said. 

Trevarrow said she’s trying to limit mental health’s negative effects on her students by focusing on topics such as discussing core values, setting personal goals and reflecting on themselves. 

Many students taking her class have noticed the greater focus on mental health. Delaney Shield, an 8th grader in Trevarrow’s class, explained that they’ve done different activities to help with mental health. 

Health teacher Kassie Trevarrow gives tips on how to prevent violence. This is one of the many topics she teaches concerning mental health. (Alexis Pehrson)

“We meditated a lot and we’ve gone on walks to relieve stress. And so that makes you calm and able to relax,” Shield said. 

Another student in Trevarrow’s class, Freshman Tannen Honke, says that focusing on mental health can be useful. 

“It could help teach kids ways to alleviate some stress…I think it’s good to get your mind off of stuff like that,” Honke said. 

Even some students who aren’t going through mental stress, such as freshman Jason Neukirch, agreed it could be useful for other students who are. 

“I think it’s important because it can help other people through their situations,” Neukirch said.

Trevarrow said that she’s going to continue to make her health class the most suitable for each grade by getting constant feedback.

“I think I’ll kind of feel out where certain topics go grade-wise, and then I think in the future I can really expand, like wow, this worked really well for freshmen…I’ll probably be asking you guys as students what did you like, what did you guys take away from this,” Trevarrow said. 

Though her class will be ever-changing in the future, Trevarrow wants her students to take away one major thing from her class. 

“My big message is that everyone matters, take care of you,” Trevarrow said. “Your thoughts are important, your feelings are important, and that there’s always help out there.”