2020 Cougar Class #2: Mental Illness Awareness

PROJECT/ACTIVITY: Introduction to Robotics

Date: 11/11/2020
Where: Virtual Meeting via Zoom

Impact on Team: This cougar class focused on a serious issue that has been heavily impacted by the pandemic. The primary emphasis for the class was to inform the members about different mental illnesses and to explain methods to improve mental health in the face of COVID-19. The Montgomery High School psychologist, Viveka Mandhyan, joined the cougar class to give the team a presentation going over the symptoms, effects, and causes of depression and anxiety. She spoke on how COVID-19 caused many stressors that might trigger depression and anxiety;  furthermore, Ms. Madhyan went over healthy coping strategies to deal with mental illnesses. She further delved into the idea of how healthy sleeping and eating habits all tie into keeping mental health in good shape.

With the build season coming up, Mr. Leicht and the mentors wanted to remind the team members to pay attention to their mental health and balance it with robotics. They could not emphasize enough on how it was immensely important to keep a healthy balance between school time and downtime. Especially due to quarantine, Ms. Mandhyan recommended doing outdoor activities to get fresh air instead of being on electronics all day. Since this was a sensitive topic, there was no activity in this cougar class, but Mr. Leicht and the mentors encouraged the members to tell the team about any projects they have picked up during quarantine. Many members spoke up about new hobbies they learned, ranging from skateboarding to drawing. Many people from the team also spoke up about things they do to manage their stress, such as gratitude journals and exercising. Ms. Mandhyan shared resources with the team in case they needed to talk with someone. The cougar class was beneficial for the team and gave them a new mindset on mental health.