Should WCHS change the 5 minute wellness time?


Photo by Nataly Behnia

During their five minute wellness time, WCHS students use their phones and talk with friends.

By Nataly Behnia, Internal Communications Manager

A new policy has students wondering: is WCHS really helping students’ mental health or just wasting their time? At the beginning of  the new school year, WCHS decided to add a five minute wellness time for students after second period. It has been deemed a time for students to “reflect” on their mental health. As seen so far, students have not used this time for mental health, they find it useless and the majority of teachers do not enforce it.

Even though WCHS has become more strict on the Personal Mobile Device (PMD) policy, teachers have allowed WCHS students to use their phones during the five minute wellness time. As a result of this, the majority of students use their phones and do not actually take the time for mental health. Students do not need a forced time for their mental health, they should be able  to choose when they need that time of reflection. 

It would do students a much better justice if they added the time taken for wellness, to be five extra minutes of lunch instead of after second period. Many students stress during lunch because that is a time for many students to retake tests, do make-up work, eat and be with friends; a lot to do in a limited time. Five minutes may not seem like a long time but it could really help students with getting work done. 

According to Public School Review, 30%-50% of students use their lunch time to either do homework or some sort of school work. Given the fact that WCHS students lunch is only 55 minutes, the majority of lunch is being used for school work, not taking mental health breaks. If WCHS added five minutes onto lunch, it would allow students to have an extra five minutes to collect themselves and get ready for the rest of the day. 

As WCHS students try to adjust to the new school year, the school should make more of an effort to bring awareness to mental health instead of devoting five minutes every day to it. Students need more time to relax and not a specific time to sit in their classroom. They need their own space and should be able to take a wellness time when they need it.

According to the Office of Health and Humans, 49.5% of teens have some sort of mental health disorder. Giving students five minutes out of a seven hour school day to just take a break is not fair. If the school were to truly want to solve these mental health issues, the break should be a longer one and not one where during a specific time. 

Some may argue that five minutes is a lot more than other students get at other schools. Now this may be true, except WCHS students use that time not for mental health, but to be on their phones, listen to music or even go on their computer.  WCHS students are really just getting five extra minutes on their phones. 

WCHS students should feel as if their school and administration care about them and their well being. They should feel comfortable enough to ask a teacher for a break or even to just walk around the hallway to clear their mind. They should not be ordered to sit in a classroom for five minutes, that does nothing for them.

Some people may say, “Well so what? Who cares?” WCHS students care. They want to be able to have time for themselves when school gets stressful, they don’t want to be forced to sit in  a classroom for five minutes while being on their phone. In reality that stress is not going away in five minutes and being forced to sit there does not help things either. WCHS needs to move the five minute wellness block to be incorporated into lunch and or allow students to take a 5 minute time whenever they want throughout the day.