Health & Wellness
As a school, we embrace our responsibility to openly and actively talk with our students about the social challenges of adolescent and teenage life from addiction, drinking and driving, driving and texting, drugs and alcohol, internet safety, digital citizenship, bullying and cyberbullying, dating, and more.
Through our core values, our curriculum, and in our daily modeling, we look to teach good decision making to our youngest students all the way up to our seniors. Throughout the year, nationally recognized researchers, presenters, and authors visit Saint Mary’s Hall to talk about some of these issues. These experts provide steps for identifying issues and solutions for coping.
We invite you to take a moment to read the different ways we have addressed these difficult topics with our school community.
Hooked on Games author Andrew Doan, MD, PhD, spoke to the SMH community about gaming addictions and addictions in general. An ophthalmologist by practice and neuroscientist by degree, Dr. Doan was once on the brink of losing his career, family, and future to an online gaming addiction.
In addition to practicing comprehensive ophthalmology, Dr. Doan uses his experience and knowledge to research and present cases for the medical community to acknowledge addiction to technology as a legitimate disease.
Shattered Dreams is a two-day program (hosted on the Saint Mary's Hall campus) that promotes responsible decision-making regarding drinking and driving. Shattered Dreams requires the active participation of students, parents, educators, and representatives from fourteen segments of the community.
The major activity involved with this program involves a dramatic on-campus reenactment of an auto crash caused by a drunk driver. SMH students make this "crash" realistic by playing the roles of crash victims and the drunk driver. Local law enforcement, medical personnel, a Bexar County judge, the head of Bexar Country DUI, an emergency room trauma surgeon, and even helicopter Life Flight are powerful partners in this program.
Representatives from the Remember Alex Brown Foundation (RAB) spoke to the Upper School student body about the dangers of texting while driving. RAB was formed by the family of Alex Brown, a young girl who was killed in a single car accident as a result of texting while she was driving. Alex’s parents and sister personally visited Saint Mary's Hall and candidly talked about the events leading up to the crash and Alex’s ultimate death in the hospital.
Following the presentation, students, parents, faculty, and staff were invited to view the actual vehicle that Alex was driving during this single car accident. Students were also given the opportunity to sign a pledge to drive safely and remember Alex Brown by “making a conscious commitment to not text while driving.”
As part of continuing substance abuse prevention education, students in Forms 7-12 participate in on-campus workshops with education specialists from FCD Prevention Works. The focus of the workshops is to encourage and support the non-use of alcohol and other illegal or illicit drugs during the growing years and empower young people to make healthy, responsible choices regarding alcohol and other drug use. Students learn about the physiological and psychological effects of alcohol and other drugs, how to recognize the early warning signs of substance abuse, and how to intervene appropriately.
In addition, FCD Prevention Works conducts Middle and Upper School parent workshops to address current trends, effective ways to communicate with children about drugs and drug use, and how to spot early warning signs of trouble.
The Healthy Life Skills curriculum is dedicated to helping Middle School students make healthy choices regarding their emotional, social, and physical lives. Students in Form 6 - 8 spend a considerable amount of time learning about alcohol and drug prevention and education (including prescription medication).
Middle School students also touch on subjects regarding bullying, technology, and body image. Our classes are tailored to the different developmental stages of our students, and discussions are age appropriate. In addition, lessons also focus on decision making, safety planning, and active discussion to help our students develop and reinforce effective skills that will help them make healthy decisions.
FCD has taught me to be more aware and prepared for the increasing social pressures of drinking alcohol or doing drugs.
Shilpa G., Class of 2020