21 December 2021
Mental illness rates in this generation have increased since COVID-19. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in eight (12%) men experience a mental disorder. One in five women (19%) experience a common mental disorder, like anxiety or depression. The Atholton community cares about students’ mental health, with the school offering support for those who are struggling to reach help.
Many students still struggle with finding support. The Sister to Sister club is a great way of expressing powerful ideas and releasing any stress that a student deals with on a daily basis. The club has been active in the Atholton community for fifteen years.
“One of the purposes for the club is to get out of your own way with self-destructive behaviors,” said Mrs. Carr-Spence, the club director. I decided to go to one of the meetings that Mrs. Carr-Spence hosts in her classroom. All the girls sat in front of the whiteboard while Mrs. Carr-Spence sat in a chair facing them.
The first thing the group did was check up on each other. They ask each other questions like “how is everyone doing today?” Generally check up questions. “This group likes to reflect a lot, and I haven’t had a group like this ever,” Mrs Carr-Spence said.
Leader of the Sister to Sister club, Kyndall Mason has been in the club since her sophomore year. “One of my [volleyball] teammates was a member so she brought me to a meeting after school and I really loved the atmosphere,” she said. “I thought it would be a great way to make friends and I have.”
A lot of older generations did not grow up with a club like Sister to Sister that gives people chances. “I went to an all girls school so we had a lot of confidence. The culture was different, our parents really molded us and we were more obedient than this generation.” Mrs Carr-Spence said. Generation Z has a lot more opportunities for people than any other generation, “I think if we had a sister to sister group, we would be free to think and express ourselves and take chances.”
The meetings are relaxing and entertaining. When anyone walks in, there is a weight taken off your shoulders immediately. “Our meetings are laid back and are a great way to talk to other girls who might relate or can give some helpful advice,” said Kyndall Mason. Everyone expresses love and acceptance there.“My favorite part of the club meetings are probably our rap sessions.” All the anxiety and nervousness slowly fades away once the session starts. “We don’t actually rap, it’s more of a time to talk about anything we choose. Anything from ways to stay focused In school to the importance of self care,” said Kyndall.
Most meetings are attentive towards community service projects, other meetings are based on self care and mental health ‘therapy’. “When I was an underclassmen I would always leave with great advice about applying to college or friendships and now that I’m a senior I enjoy providing that same sense of mentorship for new underclass men members,” said Kyndall.
Anyone can join this club, “I want this club to be diverse,” said Mrs Carr-Spence. “This is about women supporting women. I love the diversity, diversity is a plus. I want them to know that we’re all inclusive.” People who struggle with a mental illness are scared to seek help whether it’s a school environment or outside of the school environment.
Everyone in the Sister to Sister club makes new people feel safe. Friendships can fade away but lifelong advice sticks forever. This club is a great way of meeting new faces, new culture, service hours, and more. “Join Sister to Sister because we are a laid back community that is focused on making new connections and sisterhood!”