The Zen Minds Club: Their Mission to Bring Awareness to Mental Health at Hamilton

The Zen Minds Club: Their Mission to Bring Awareness to Mental Health at Hamilton

Brock London

Anxiety has been experienced by almost all teenagers in some way. Whether it is the nauseating feeling before the game, a heat of sweat before that presentation in front of the class,  or simply being in a ginormous school it comes severely or mildly, but that never should inhibit a student’s right to talk about their feelings.

 Shania Kohli being someone who experienced anxiety, decided to start the Zen Minds club. In hopes to raise awareness for mental health at Hamilton. As the founder and president of the now two-year club, Kohli has come a long way in her mental health journey. She states, “Mental health has been a big part of my life. I used to struggle a lot with anxiety, specifically social anxiety to where it restricted my life.”  Realizing how talking out her experiences helped her, Shania wanted a place students could express their mental health problems. Being done by learning from others and their experiences.

 Mental health can be a constant challenge to anyone facing it. “I worked a lot with myself to overcome my social anxiety, but I still feel anxious at times,” Kohli says. One talk about an experience with mental health may not make the situation less difficult. Zen Minds is a space for those wanting to improve their mental health by talking to new people. An activity Kohli says was helpful to herself: “I truly believe people could help others by talking about their own experiences (what worked for them and what didn’t).” 

 A day at the zen minds club usually starts with volunteering opportunities followed by a small bit of research for any topic that is being covered. Past topics that the club has covered include: anxiety, gratitude, good habits, motivation, and depression. There are discussions on a prepared topic ending off with anything members want to talk about. Zen minds even include meditation and popping bubble wrap on some meet-days. “We have a focus on relieving stress, as it is a common occurrence among high schoolers,” Kohli explains.

 Stress is experienced in a variety of ages, and teenagers are certainly no exception. The life of a high schooler may be balancing academic challenges and personal issues. Often the two can clash resulting in chaos in one’s focus of self-care. We all must take time to take care of ourselves. Zen Minds helps their members by giving them a safe space they can feel comfortable disclosing anything about; however, sometimes addressing feelings may not be as easy for everyone. Kohli has some advice on ways students can lessen their stress: “ When people are feeling stressed, I recommend them to brainstorm/journal, meditate, or discuss the reason.” She goes on to explain that understanding the reason for the stress can be handled more efficiently. 

 As the president of the Zen Minds club, Kohli’s favorite moment this year was the first meeting. “We spent the entire meeting just talking and connecting as well as doing de-stressing activities,” Kohli also really enjoyed the club fair as the Zen Minds club got a positive reaction.

 The goal of the zen minds club this year is to help students with stress are any difficulties they may be going through. Kohli also wants to open up the topic of mental health in Hamilton more. Zen Minds currently does not have any upcoming events except for meetings every Wednesday after school. Zen Minds accepts new members regardless of if they have attended a meeting before or not. Remember to text 81010 @zenminds21and check the Zen Minds club after school on Wednesdays!