students mental health expo

Mental health was at the forefront of everyone’s mind at Tecumseh Middle School Wednesday, September 21. For the first half of the school day, the middle school hosted the first “Be Kind to Your Mind” mental health expo.

The idea behind the event was to discuss student wellness, with mental health being the main topic. The goal was to promote and foster mental wellness.

The pressures of daily life are challenging even under the best circumstances. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, students (and even adults) may still be dealing with anxiety and stress, which can have lasting effects. 

The “Be Kind to Your Mind” event had several 25-minute mini-sessions that included topics on bullying, social media, healthy eating, coping with anxiety, communicating with parents, and much more.

It was quite the turnout. Over 800 students from TMS took part, and over 65 people volunteered. The volunteers included current staff, Tecumseh High School students, THS alumni, and professionals from around the state.

“We want to say thank you to each and every one of you for participating in the first “Be Kind to Your Mind” day here at TMS,” said middle school principal Trisha Howard when addressing her staff. “Students were actively engaged, which in part was credited to your modeling and teaching of those behaviors.” 

This project was months in the making. The idea was introduced in May by current TPS Board of Education member Mary Tommelein. Tommelein, a retired school counselor, helped form a committee that met over the summer and continued to meet leading up to the event. Countless hours went towards the event, which benefits students and staff.

When students weren’t attending the mini-sessions, they had opportunities to learn about volunteerism, take pics in the “Why You Matter” photo booth, and play some games.

A motivational speaker made a special guest appearance. Students were split up by grades and headed to the Tecumseh Center for the Arts to hear from the keynote speaker.

Renowned motivational speaker Mike Smith held two virtual sessions. Smith is the Executive Director for THE BAY, a non-profit skatepark in Lincoln, NE. He’s also created the non-profit organization, Skate for Change, which is an organization that empowers young skateboarders to help the homeless in their communities.

Throughout the two sessions, Smith talked about his experience of learning the importance of being kind to others and caring about people other than yourself. He took that approach late in high school, carried it through college, and now in his professional career. He advocates for other marginalized people in his community, like the homeless.

Today, mental wellness is a topic that Smith touches on routinely and says it’s essential for people to understand that it’s okay not to be okay.

“If the pandemic taught us anything, it was that we all realized we must learn how to take care of ourselves,” said Smith. “The path to moving forward, the path to change starts from within.”

It’s important to note that this event couldn’t have happened without some significant support from our sponsors. Thank you to Tecumseh Kiwanis, Tecumseh Credit Union, Foundation Reality, Premier Bank, Hopscotch Kids, and Old National Bank.

Coming up in December, Tecumseh High School will host its first “Be Kind to Your Mind” event.