Students Listen to Experts in Finding Positivity During Red Ribbon/Mental Health Week

St. Margaret’s Upper and Middle School students participated in a Red Ribbon/Mental Health week virtual symposium with the theme of “Finding the Positive in a Pandemic World.”

The symposium featured speakers who shared coping skills and tips for staying positive during uncharted times. The speakers have backgrounds in fields from psychology, grief and loss expertise, alcohol and drug dependency, and leadership. The speakers included two St. Margaret’s professional community members: personal fitness and wellness department chair Staciana Winfield, and head football coach Kory Minor. 

Dr. Jerry Weichman, a local psychologist, was the featured speaker provided compelling tips for students, reminding them “that life doesn’t control how you feel, you do.” 

“As always, we hope to keep the conversation going as we continue to build resiliency and coping strategies during this challenging time,” said St. Margaret’s All-School Counselor Janice Avalone, who organized the symposium with All-School Counselor Jeremy Dailey. 

Red Ribbon Week is a nationwide initiative to raise awareness about the importance of a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. St. Margaret’s has expanded on Red Ribbon Week’s focus to add a mental health element to the program in recent years.

“Substance use is often the negative coping for a larger issue often related to mental health, so it’s important to highlight that connection,” Dr. Avalone said. 

Here is a look at the featured speakers:

  • “Building a Resilient Mindset” with Dr. Jerry Weichman
  • “Adaptive Coping During Challenging Times” with Dr. Erik Abell
  • “Effects of COVID on Teen Health” with Dr. Appapillai and Dr. Kochinski
  • “Mental Health and Vaping” with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency
  • “Mental Health and Alcohol” with the NCADD
  • “Practicing Mindfulness to Reduce Stress and Increase Focus” with Staciana Winfield
  • “Staying Positive During Challenging Times” with Kory Minor
  • “Grief and Loss in a Pandemic World” with Stephanie Loscko and Megan Gruppo
An independent preschool through grade 12 college-preparatory day school in Orange County, California
St. Margaret’s Episcopal School
31641 La Novia Avenue
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
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