New helping hands in Mindfulness Room

The Mindfulness Room (C105) welcomes two new interns: Bridget Baker and Brenton Montgomery. They work to support all students who are struggling with their mental health in a variety of ways, such as support groups, Puma for Pumas, or the several social media accounts run by Lindsay Taylor, who is the school’s social worker.

Baker started interning at Perry as a part of her master’s degree. She also works for a nonprofit organization called “Everybody Matters” that supports the social and emotional aspect of adolescents and children. “I’ve worked with a lot of children in my career, and I’ve seen children struggle with mental health,” said Baker.

Montgomery works for the same organization. “I want to work with high school students to help them work with mental health issues, especially after the pandemic last year, when everybody was at home and isolated. I want to start working with kids who were isolated and make sure they have support,” said Montgomery.

Baker will talk to the students on a weekly basis after they have been referred to the Mindfulness Room. “I meet with them to help support them. That is their time to talk about whatever is going on in their life and what they need to talk about. I want to support the students in any facet that I can,” said Baker.

Montgomery helps students develop coping skills. “My role in the Mindfulness Room is to help students who are experiencing any type of behavioral problems or frustration with their coping skills. I help them cope with certain situations: maybe with grief within their home setting or maybe not knowing how to experience the transition from middle school to high school,” said Montgomery.

Improving and healing one’s mental health is not an easy progress; a common saying is that “healing is not always linear,” and it takes time for visible progress to be seen. However, offering a helping hand in the healing process is a rewarding effort. “My favorite part of working at Perry is the students and seeing them be successful,” said Baker.

Students face the everyday stress of being in high school and all the extracurriculars that are involved. They also have the unique challenge that has been these past few school years. Under these circumstances, it is easy to push one’s mental health to the background. Everyone’s mental health has been significantly impacted “It’s very challenging for the youth right now…Students learn skills from their peers, so when students aren’t able to have continual contact, that creates challenges,” said Baker.

Montgomery believes that there has been a dramatic increase in suicidal thoughts with students. “There is a concerning amount of suicidal thought within the youth of the community. I actually work at a psych hospital. I’ve seen an increase within the last four to five months of teens coming in with suicidal ideations. That’s another reason why I’m here. A lot of the time, the kids who are feeling suicidal don’t have outlets or don’t have that support, so being here for that support for those students who are having suicidal ideations is an important thing for me,” said Montgomery.

September is Suicide Prevention Month. There are many free resources available online, such as the Mindfulness Room website. Another resource is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255).