Staying mindful of mental health

Social worker creates new club


Tammy Le

Members of the Mindfulness Club sit in a circle for group discussion.

Grace Kelly, News Editor

The first semester back to in-person learning was difficult for everyone. From teachers dealing with fights and low productivity rates to students struggling to balance grades and keep motivation up, mental health was a topic weighing heavily on the collective.

Thankfully, with the help of Silverado’s new social worker, Shannon Williams, and senior Miguel Castano, Mindfulness Club was born.

Williams advises the club.  She graduated from UNLV with a degree in Pre-Medicine, and she specializes in college-related concerns, career development, and working with marginalized populations. 

“I think what’s been happening around Silverado have been behavioral incidents related to anxiety and being pent up from quarantine,” Williams said. “There’s a lot of new friction combined with the same high school growing pains.”

Castano recognized this as well, which eventually prompted him to begin the Mindfulness Club and take on the role of president.

“I wanted to start a club surrounding mental health because it is usually a topic that students are afraid to talk about with others,” Castano said. “Topics like anxiety and stress are universal but definitely have a stigma attached to them, which was why I wanted to start the club as a place where we can have an open conversation about these things.”

Mindfulness Club consists of Williams and Castano presenting a slideshow on topics ranging from anxiety to depression and how to cope with them, as well as maintaining a safe space to discuss any relating topics or personal anecdotes attendees might have.

“I was really excited to have the opportunity to advise the club,” Williams said. “This generation is inheriting the earth and [they] know themselves more than they give [themselves] credit for.”

With Williams having previously worked with the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth for over three years, she hopes Mindfulness Club collaborates with different organizations in order to spread its message.

“We have also been contacted by groups like the Hope Squad, a national peer-to-peer suicide prevention organization, and work with them to implement that into Mindfulness Club,” Castano said.

Williams says she is “grounded by group discussions” and is “happy to see that kids are engaged and passionate” about the club. 

“Miguel is phenomenal and working with him is a pleasure,” Williams said.

Mindfulness Club meets after school every Wednesday in Room 200, and new students are welcome.

“As president, I hope that members take from the club that we should not be scared to confide in people close to us when we are struggling,” Castano said. “Everyone has their own problems that they deal with on a daily basis, and we shouldn’t be afraid to vent about or let people know when things aren’t going our way. Everyone deserves a helping hand.”