When I was in 8th grade, a few teachers decided to have a large group of girls get together and discuss their 411. Some were obviously having a hard time at home, others cried, and others seemed shell-shocked. Unclear why the administration chose to do this, but it was clearly not a great idea. One meeting, and we never got together again.
I was talking to my sister-in-law about this. Her suggestion was, why doesn’t everyone have therapy, just like you go to your dentist every six months or have an annual physical. The question is, when does therapy start?
The concept in 8th grade should have started in pre-school. As a young kid, maybe once a week, the “feelings doctor” comes in, and the kids can feel free to express themselves. Continue those mental health meetings as part of the curriculum. Allowing kids to express themselves from the beginning. They would all become much more tolerant of each other and the world.
Starting young is the key. Mental health is being in touch with your emotional side daily. If it happened from the start, we would live in a different and perhaps better world.