The PVA Wellness Committee has developed a new program in the media center called the Lending Library of the Happy Mind, a set of books on the subject of mental health that students can borrow anonymously. The program aims to help Pine View students deal with stresses in their lives, big or small.Last spring Cathi Bell, the chair of the PVA Wellness Committee, became inspired to start the Lending Library of the Happy Mind in order to give students an anonymous mental health resource. “With Dr. Covert’s blessing, I started asking parents for donations … The support from the PV community has been incredible,” Bell said.
The PVA Wellness Committee was also started this school year. It developed from the Bereavement Committee that helped with the loss of a Pine View family member, student or staff. Once Bell had the idea for the Lending Library of the Happy Mind, PVA decided the Wellness Committee would be a beneficial addition. “The goal of the committee is to help improve wellness throughout the Pine View community,” Bell said. “We help disadvantaged students obtain school supplies through our PVA School Voucher program, publish a mental health article in the monthly Pine Views, assist with loss, and offer mental health books.”
Students can find the Lending Library for the Happy Mind on a bookshelf on the right wall of the media center. So far there are over 80 books in the library covering a variety of topics, such as mental illnesses, bullying and social pressures. The list of categories can be found on the bookshelf and on the PVA website at yourpva.org.
To help students find a suitable book, the resources in the Lending Library for the Happy Mind are divided into two groups: one for elementary students and one for middle and high school students. The books for elementary students have a gold smiley face sticker on them and are on the bottom shelf, while books for secondary students are found on the top shelves.
The library runs on the honor system to keep the process anonymous. Students can take the books they would like to read without the need to check them out. “I think it’s great because some of these topics kids do not want to talk about … Hopefully this way they feel comfortable and can get the information they need,” Media Center aide Lauren White-Opitz said.
The Wellness Committee is hoping to expand the library with donations. Students, teachers, and parents are encouraged to donate books and may do so by leaving books in the red bin in the front office. A list of needed topics is online at yourpva.org
“I hope the books help them see their uniqueness or situation as one that doesn’t have to define who they are, that they have the power to decide that,” Bell said. “I also hope it opens the eyes of some students who are unaware how their actions are affecting others negatively.”